Anti-bullying’s latest proponent: Meryl Streep


Photo courtesy of Neon Tommy via WikiCommons

Meryl Streep, one of the greatest actresses of the 20th century and early 21st, is also a strong anti-bullying proponent.

Regina Torres, Writer

Political and social climates that are heading for an ugly direction occasionally need someone to take a stand in order to help spur positive action. Enter Meryl Streep and the speech delivered at this past Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood.

This speech comes on the heels of the recent attacks in Chicago on a special needs man diagnosed with schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.

The torture was conducted by four young adults and displayed for the world to see on social media. At one point in the video footage, one of the four bullies screams to the victim, “F*** Donald Trump. F*** white people.” To add insult to injury, the four owned up to the acts of brutality, but none showed a speck of remorse.

They were arrested for aggravated kidnapping, unlawful restraint, battery and a hate crime. Meanwhile, the nameless victim will probably have to grapple with the aftermath of abuse, never mind the difficulties he already faces on a daily basis.

According to a report done by the Chicago Tribune, the CPD under the lens for use of excessive force, especially in relation to minorities who are male in lower-income neighborhoods.

Finally, there is some finger pointing at the CPD for bullying and for good reason. There has to be accountability and transparency in our leadership, our police force, our politics, our citizens–basically everyone is accountable for their actions, including me as I write this as a journalist.

Unless, of course, you ask our next president.

At the Golden Globes, instead of using her speech time to gloat about her lifetime achievements, Streep used nearly six minutes to bravely address the bubbling political divide taking place, how the entertainment industry and the press have a responsibility in these polarized and censored times, and how bullying is being legitimized and perpetuated.

Below are condensed excerpts from Streep’s speech.

“You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press. But who are we? Just a bunch of people from other places.”

Do you think she’s referring to Trump here? There have been reports done, such one by The Daily Beast, that speculate whether or not Trump will evict the press from the White House altogether given the sour relationship between the two.

“There was one performance this year that stunned me…it made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart,” Streep said.

Even though Streep never mentions a name, we can deduce it is clearly Trump. Like the Chicago bullying footage, it is indeed heartbreaking to watch a soon-to-be president mimic and slander someone not even on the same playing field physically. Streep is referring to the November 2015 Trump rally when Trump imitated New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a medical condition called arthrogryposis. This disability affects his arm movements.

Trump’s reaction to being called out for deplorable behavior?

He didn’t do it. According to a report released by the Washington Post, Trump even denies remembering Kovaleski.

The article also said that Trump’s “not surprised” by criticism from “liberal movie people.” Even though he states he did not see Streep’s speech, he called Streep a “Hillary lover.” He loves to bully via tweets, as is shown in his comments directed at Streep. “One of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood,’ and “a Hillary flunky who lost big.”

Sad and scary. Is this what we’ve stooped to as a society? As a democracy? As human beings?

Streep nails it towards the end of her speech when she brings up the trickle-down effect, and the need to support a free press. The following is an excerpt.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and it’s freedoms in our constitution…I ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us…join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists…we’re going to need them going forward. And they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

“And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform…it filters down into everybody’s life…gives permission for other people to do the same thing….when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Enough said.

Stop the violence. Be the change.