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Meryl Streep: 'You Have No Choice' But to Resist Donald Trump

Meryl Streep

The Florence Foster Jenkins star doubled down on her criticism of the president -- and encouraged others to do the same -- at a Human Rights Campaign gala.


Meryl Streep has responsed to the backlash from her Golden Globes speech attacking Donald Trump and, in a joke that misfired, football and mixed martial arts.

"First of all, I do like football. Let me just make that clear," Streep said at a gala this weekend for the Human Rights Campaign, where she accepted the LGBT organization's National Ally for Equality Award.

Sports jokes aside, Streep did not back down in her criticism of the president. In January, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, she eviscerated Trump without ever mentioning his name, by citing to a "peformance" in the real world that "sank its hooks in my heart." She was referring to the sight of a presidential candidate mocking a disabled reporter.

"This instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing," Streep said. "Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."

Streep drove home this danger of unchecked power to the crowd Saturday at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

"The whip of the executive, through a Twitter feed, can lash and intimidate, punish and humiliate, delegitimize the press and imagined enemies with spasmodic regularity and easily provoked predictability," she said.

After her Golden Globes speech, Trump used this social-media whip to brand the 20-time Oscar nominee as "overrated" on Twitter. Streep embraced this label at the HRC event.

"I am the most overrated, overdecorated and, currently, over-berated actress, who likes football, of my generation," Streep declared to the applause of the room.

Streep stressed the need of resistance in a time when civil rights are under attack. There are risks to speaking out against oppression, but "you have no choice," she said.

"It's terrifying to put the target on your forehead, and it sets you up for all sorts of attacks and armies of brownshirts and bots and worse, and the only way you can do it is if you feel you have to," said Streep, who in using "brownshirts" alluded to a Nazi militia. "You have to. You have no choice, but you have to speak up and stand up and act up."

And there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

"If we live through this precarious moment, if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn't lead us to nuclear winter, we will have much to thank our current leader for. He will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is."

Streep ended with a warning for those who would attack the hard-won liberties of the LGBT community.

"As Americans, men, women, people, gay, straight, LBGTQ, all of us have the human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And if you think people got mad when they thought the government was coming after their guns, wait 'til they come and try to take away our happiness!"

Read the full text of the speech at The Hollywood Reporter.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.