A lot has been written about Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech. She called out Donald Trump on a lot of things, though she never mentioned him by name. She chastised him for mocking a disabled reporter, something he keeps denying despite the evidence. (Really, it’s like he thinks these things just disappear from the Internet.)
Some have criticized her speech for lauding Hollywood while saying that sports are not an art form. “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” she said. “And if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.” For the record, I disagree. As someone who does not have an iota of talent in the sports world, I am in awe of the work.
That said, I’m going to defend her speech. I’ll defend anyone’s speech at an awards show, whether or not I agree. I do agree with most of what she said. I know Hollywood has a lot of rich people. I know it’s been said a number of times that she was speaking to a room full of millionaires. Yeah, she was. She was also speaking to everyone who was watching the show.
Here’s the thing: If you have a platform and you believe strongly in something, you say it. Her message got out there, enough that Trump had to petulantly defend himself on Twitter. (Though to be fair, it doesn’t take much for him to lash out. Again, the evidence is there).
There are two things I want to say about Hollywood. First, there are a lot of us here that aren’t millionaires. There are a lot of us here who live paycheck to paycheck. Hollywood is not just actors who make a ton of money. There are grips, makeup artists, reporters who cover it, etc., who make very little. I rarely, if ever, discussed politics before this election. Now I can’t keep silent. I have a much smaller platform, of course, and I’ve certainly never won an Oscar, but I have to call out the things I see. I’m watching friends on social media who have never discussed politics do the same.
The second thing is, Hollywood has a lot of problems. Its lack of racial and gender diversity, its inability to pay women and men the same salary — these are all huge issues. The #OscarsSoWhite and #AskHerMore campaigns didn’t come out of a vacuum. Its issues, however, do not preclude someone like Streep, despite her money and how different her life is from ours, from making a speech about something she’s passionate about. None of us should remain silent. None of us really can anymore.
It’s time to speak up. People spewing hate and racist, sexist and homophobic crap aren’t keeping themselves silent. Speak up, no matter where you are, what you do or how much money you make. Speak up whether you’ve won an Oscar or a trophy for your fifth-grade soccer team. Call out hatred everywhere, in a group, on TV or in a room with one other person. Meryl Streep spoke from her heart. So can you. So can we all.