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Streep v Trump: Movie heavyweight takes on the political overweight

Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes: 'When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.'

Streep v Trump: Movie heavyweight takes on the political overweight

Meryl baits Donald; Donald bites back. What happened when the Hollywood heavyweight attacked the political overweight

Streep v Trump: Movie heavyweight takes on the political overweight

She has 19 Academy Award nominations, the most for any actor, and three Oscars; 23 Golden Globe nominations, three wins and a lifetime achievement award, and a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

He has one Rassie for worst supporting actor and his star has been repeatedly vandalised. An artist built a miniature wall around it, topped with razor wire and tiny border signs saying “Keep Out”.

Now the Hollywood heavyweight and the political overweight are engaging in a very public spat.

Last night Meryl Streep delivered an emotional speech at the Golden Globes, criticising Donald Trump for imitating a disabled reporter, saying it gives permission to others to do the same.

“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart,” Streep said. “Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job.

“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 and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life.”

Trump drew widespread notoriety in November when he derided New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski – who disputed Trump’s claim he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrate the 9/11 attacks – while flailing and twisting his arms. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.

In front of a visibly stunned room of stars, Streep said Trump’s actions legitimised bullying.

“This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence invites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”

She called on the media to hold the powerful to account, and said media freedom needed to be protected more than ever.

Early today, the president-elect tweeted that Streep was “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and a “Hillary flunky who lost big”. He added he was not surprised he had come under attack from “liberal movie people”.

Streep was not the only star to address Trump. Viola Davis, who won best supporting actress for Fences, said backstage his win was a reflection of America.

“I think that we’ve fallen short because there is no way that we can have anyone in office that is not an extension of our own belief system,” she said.

“So what does that say about us? And I think that if you answer that question I think that says it all.”

Hugh Laurie, awarded for The Night Manager, said: “I suppose it’s made more amazing by the fact that I’ll be able to say I won this at the last ever Golden Globes.

“I don’t mean to be gloomy, it’s just that it has the words Hollywood, Foreign and Press in the title … I also think to some Republicans, even the word ‘association’ is slightly sketchy.”

He said he was accepting the award “on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere.”

Streep looks to have really struck a nerve with Trump. He desperately wants to be one of those movie people. Or at least be accepted by them. And when he’s not, he doesn’t like it.

When Hillary Clinton mocked him for caring about Emmy-rigging more than election-rigging, Trump couldn’t resist interjecting “shoulda gotten it”.

He has regularly and willingly put himself in front of the camera for brand promotional purposes and never been shy of a guest appearance. The makers of Home Alone 2 didn’t ask him to be in it, but he owned the hotel where they were filming and could hardly say no when he turned up on the set.

Trump clearly enjoys his celebrity status – and the power it brings. That was made clear by the notorious “grab them …” video that threatened to derail his campaign.

In politics, Trump likes the image of being a natural performer. His abilities in MCing a crowd-baiting rally are acknowledged.

Perhaps not his lines: “I’m not alarmed at the guy launching prodigious verbal farts into a microphone. I’m alarmed at the people laughing and applauding like he’s forming actual thoughts,” mused an online critic.

Trump loves the idea of “being a star” but the stars don’t want him. They flocked around Clinton on the campaign trail – not that it made any difference; post-election, all the stories have been about celebrities turning down invitations to appear at his inauguration.

They don’t want him in their gang, and he doesn’t like it.

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