By ELLEN T. TORDESILLAS
SHE captured our hearts with her stirring performances in “Sophie’s Choice” and “Deer Hunter.” She helped us forget our problems with enjoyable performers in “Mamma Mia” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”
She was a joy to watch in last year’s movie, “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
But her acceptance speech for being honored with the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement at last Monday’s Golden Globes melted our hearts. She was awesome!
The Golden Globe Award is a recognition by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of works of excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign.
Streep didn’t mention names but everybody knew who she was referring to when she said this:
“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. 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. 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 when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”
In November 2015, during a campaign rally in South Carolina, presidential candidate Donald Trump made fun of Serge Kovaleski, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist writing for The New York Times.
Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, which affects the movement in his arms.
Streep said, “…this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
This kind of situation is not alien to Filipinos. In a rally in Kalibo, during the campaign, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte made fun of a stroke victim he knew, imitating the contorted movement of the person with disability to the laughter of his audience.
Streep’s speech resonated with many Filipinos who yearn for a more courageous and responsible media to do the battle for them against government apathy and abuses.
“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 its freedoms in our constitution,” Streep said.
The Philippines remains to be in the top five of countries journalists where journalists are killed with impunity according to the Global Impunity Index of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
That’s why even if Streep’s audience was Hollywood, Filipino journalists were touched by her call to protect journalists: “So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we’re going to need them going forward. And they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”
President-elect Trump went to Twitter to denigrate the three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars and a record 30 Golden Globes calling her overrated.
Trump, just like another president we know, has no respect for the truth. It’s best to ignore him.