Meryl Streep is a three-time Oscar-winning actress known for her outstanding performances in movies like “Mamma Mia,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Julie and Julia,” “Little Woman,” and several others.
In addition to her excellent acting skills, Streep is famous for her outspoken stance concerning specific issues. She has used her broad reach on occasion to point out various problems affecting people worldwide.
One of those times was when she used her platform to talk about how she felt about Disney. While talking about the creator, Streep also managed to add her fellow actress and friend, Emma Thompson, into the mix.
On Tuesday, Streep was set to entertain the audience in the National Board of Review gala, and Thompson had just accepted the best actress honor. Streep presented the award to her while making a lengthy tribute to her and a dig at Disney.
Streep Called Out Disney’s Attitude Towards Women
Streep hosted the 2014 National Board of Review Gala and was sure to include some seriousness in her bouts of jokes and witty remarks. Before presenting the best actress award to Thompson, the actress delivered a ten-minute long tribute to Thompson, including comments about Walt Disney’s attitude towards women, an “Ode to Emma,” and a dig at Thompson, calling her a “rabid man-eating feminist.”
Before she went into the speech, Streep mentioned that she had two speeches prepared, a short, sweet one and a long hard truth; she then opted to present the hard truth. Over time, Disney was accused of having anti-Semitic and sexist views, both of which the “Little Women” actress put the creator on blast for.
Per Vanity Fair, she said, “Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women.” She also claimed that the creator had some racist proclivities and was a gender bigot. “Disney, who brought joy, arguably to billions of people, was perhaps or has some… racist proclivities. He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobby. And he was certainly, on evidence of his company’s policies, a gender bigot.”
Streep Called Thompson A Rabid Man-Eating Feminist
Still putting Walt Disney on blast, Streep also mentioned Thompson. She referred to her as a “beautiful artist” and talked about her other accomplishments. The 72-year-old said, “Emma considers, carefully, what the f*** she is putting into the culture. Emma thinks, ‘Is this helpful??’ Not, ‘will it build my brand?’ Not ‘will it give me billions?'”
Streep then addressed a letter that Disney wrote to reply to an aspiring female animator who applied to the company. Before she read the letter, she referred to herself and Thompson as feminists.
“Here is a letter from 1938 stating his company’s policy to a young woman named Mary Ford, of Arkansas, who had made application to Disney for the training program cartooning,” the actress said. “And I’m going to read it here in Emma’s tribute because I know it will tickle our honoree because she’s also a man-eating feminist like I am.”
Walt Disney’s Letter To Mary Ford
After her comment about Emma, Streep read the letter to Ford, which claimed that women were not allowed to do any creative work connected to on-screen cartoons. This was because the task was saved for only young men.
The letter read, “Dear Miss Ford, Your letter of recent date has been received in the inking and painting department for reply. Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.”
“For this reason, girls are not considered for the training school. The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink and then filling in the tracing on the reverse side with paint, according to the directions.”
Streep Referred To Herself As A ‘Humanist’
That instance aside, Streep wasn’t known for calling herself a feminist. Although her actions scream feminist, the actress maintained that she is a “humanist.” Over time Streep was known for advocating for women’s rights both in and outside the entertainment industry.
According to the Guardian, the “Mamma Mia” actress once sent a package to Congress to vie for women’s discrimination to be made illegal. She also mentioned several solutions in the entertainment industry to show how fairness can be achieved by both men and women in the workplace.
“Men should look at the world as if something is wrong when their voices predominate. They should feel it,” Streep said. “People at agencies and studios, including the parent boards, might look around the table at the decision-making level and feel something is wrong if half their participants are not women. Because our tastes are different, what we value is different. Not better, different.”
Regardless of her numerous acts, the actress didn’t want to be tagged a feminist. Instead of being called a feminist, she referred to herself as a “humanist” and said she was for “mice, easy balance.” This reply didn’t sit well for several fans and bloggers, and one even mentioned that her refusal to call herself a feminist “has me scratching my head so hard I’m starting to see scalp.”