British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan said Meryl Streep just gave the "worst performance of her career" when she chose to stir up more division among Americans through her six-minute anti-Trump speech at the Golden Globe Awards.
While he admired Streep for being "one of the greatest actresses in history," Morgan, in an article for Mail Online, said the actress could have had the chance to help unite her country but instead encouraged more dissension by bashing president-elect Donald Trump.
Streep went up on the stage on Jan. 8 to receive the Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Awards and launched an attack on Trump during her speech.
She told her Hollywood audience that they are the "most vilified segments of society right now," and that if all "outsiders" and "foreigners" were removed from Hollywood, U.S. will be left with no entertainment save for "football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts."
Morgan said this statement was a form of "elitist snobbery," especially when Streep's audience is composed of some of the richest members of American society who were wearing $20,000 gowns and applauding Streep's words.
The actress went on to say that of all the "powerful performances" in the industry this year, one performance made her heart sink: "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 and power and the capacity to fight back."
She was referring to Trump, who was accused of mocking New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, at a political rally last year by reportedly mimicking the journalist's disabled right arm.
"It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can't get it out of my head. This instinct to humiliate when it's modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everybody's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing," Streep said.
The alleged mocking gestures were actually from a South Carolina rally in November 2015, Morgan corrected. He also said Trump had been repeatedly caught on video doing the same action even before he commented about Kovaleski, which indicated that it could be a simple mannerism.
A group called Catholics 4 Trump compiled similar videos showing the president-elect doing the same gesture but not pertaining to Kovaleski. In one of them, Trump was even imitating a flustered version of himself.
Besides, Morgan reasoned, Kovaleski "is hardly a powerless individual with 'no capacity to fight back'; he's a long-time Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist at the New York Times, a paper that's trashed Trump for decades."
One particular statement from Streep made Morgan laugh out loud: "Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."
He did not laugh at what the statement meant, he explained, but on the "hypocrisy" of it; the words should have been directed at Hollywood, not Trump.
"You'd be hard-pushed to find an industry that encourages more disrespect and violence than Hollywood. A place where rich powerful people make billions of dollars by regularly pandering to the lowest common denominators of sexism, racism, homophobia and misogyny," Morgan wrote.
He then pointed out an instance in the 2003 Oscars when Streep gave a standing ovation to Roman Polanski, a French-Polish director who had been accused of raping a 13-year-old. Polanski won as Best Director for 'The Pianist' but he wasn't at the Oscars at the time because he would get arrested if went to the U.S.
Because of increased curiosity about this instance, Snopes.com investigated the issue to verify its authenticity, and they found it to be fact: Streep did indeed give a standing ovation to Polanski, who was not present in the event.
Finally, Morgan scoffed at Streep's call to protect the media to "safeguard the truth." Morgan said that during the previous election campaign, "many parts of America's media were found severely wanting."
"The mainstream US media, having gleefully fuelled Trump's candidacy for months to suit their own self-serving commercial interests, then turned on him like spitting cobras when he looked like he might actually win," Morgan said. "It's also a fact that no president in modern times has been so anti-press, or so intent on attacking press freedom, as Barack Obama, one of Streep's heroes."
He said Streep's speech reeked of "putridly pungent" hypocrisy. The more courageous thing she could have done was to call for unity, particularly when the speech was delivered just a few days before Trump's inauguration.
"Meryl, I still love you dearly, but you had a chance to bring your country together last night and you blew it," he said.