Meryl Streep used her platform as this year’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award not to talk about her career—because we all know the story of that already—but to pointedly take a stand against Trumpian values. In her speech, Streep made calls for inclusiveness, empathy, and a free and fierce press. She began by describing the backgrounds of fellow nominees, arguing that “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
But the crux of her speech honed in on the November 2015 instance in which President-Elect Donald Trump mocked a disabled New York Times reporter. She called it a “performance this year that stunned” her. “Not because it was good,” she said. “There was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.”
She continued: “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”
After asking the audience to support the Committee To Protect Journalists, Streep wrapped up with two anecdotes. In the first, she recalled how Tommy Lee Jones once remarked to her on the “privilege” of being an actor. She concurred, adding: “We have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.” But she ultimately concluded on the words of her friend Carrie Fisher. “Take your broken heart, make it into art,” she said.