WATCH: Meryl Streep Fires Back at Donald Trump’s ‘Overrated’ Insult in Powerful Speech
Streep, who was introduced by the legendary director Ken Burns, walked on stage and knelt before him and the attendees HRC’s 16th Annual Greater New York Gala. In her address to the crowd, Streep touched on Trump calling her “over-rated” and the backlash she received from the MMA community following her controversial Golden Globes speech. Additionally, she told the story of her middle school teacher, who was one of the first transgender women in the country.
“First of all, I do like football. Let me just make that clear,” she began. “I gave seven years, seven of my youngest, prettiest years to being a cheerleader for football, basketball, and wrestling.”
From there, she clarified that her comment alluding that MMA fighting is not actually an art.
“If you overhear a woman in a restaurant say, ‘My son is very interested in the arts,’ she probably doesn’t mean football or mixed martial arts,” said Streep. “They are just not the same thing. Look, some of us like football, some of us like the arts, many of us require both in our lives. I was making a joke. Some people missed it. Mike Nichols once told me, ‘If you have to explain a joke, you, and the joke, are doomed.’ So, whatever.”
Streep went on to say if we can endure as a nation under Trump’s presidency, “[Trump] will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is.”
“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 continued. “Here we are in 2017, the year the browser seems to have gone down. In danger of losing much of our information, we seem to be reverting to factory settings. But we are not going to go back to the bad old days of ignorance and harassment, oppression and hiding who we are. Because we owe it to the people who have died for our rights (and who died before they got their own).”
“Yes, I am the most overrated, overdecorated and, currently, over-berated actress, who likes football, of my generation. But that is why you invited me here! Right?”
Billy Eichner also presented Seth Meyers with the HRC Equality Award. Watch Meyers’ speech here and view Streep’s speech in full in the video below. Launch the gallery at the top of the page to view more photos from the event.