Oh. My. GOD.
Meryl Streep Blasts Walt Disney at National Board of Review Dinner
This year’s ceremony will forever be remembered for its nine-minute tour-de-force speech from Meryl Streep.
Streep, for once, wasn’t invited to accept an award. Instead, she was there to honor Emma Thompson for her portrait as “Mary Poppins” creator P.L. Travers in Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks.”
There was plenty of effusive Thompson praising in the speech — with phrases like “she’s practically a saint” and “she’s a beautiful artist” — and it ended with a poem that Streep had written for her friend titled “An Ode to Emma, Or What Emma is Owed.” But Streep also made a point of blasting Walt Disney for his sexist and anti-Semitic stances.
The edgy riff offered a different perspective on Disney from the sugarcoated hero played by Tom Hanks in “Saving Mr. Banks.” Streep was once rumored to be in the running for the role of P.L. Travers, although her remarks suggest why she might not have pursued the project.
“Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women,” Streep said, quoting esteemed animator Ward Kimball on his old boss: “He didn’t trust women or cats.”
Streep talked about how Disney “supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group” and called him a “gender bigot.” She read a letter that his company wrote in 1938 to an aspiring female animator. It included the line, “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.”
Attacking Saint WALT? Can you imagine?
We've pointed out on various occasions that Mr. Disney could be prejudiced, vindictive, and not above violating federal labor laws when it suited his purpose. He also was a major cultural force in the world and had superior creative and story instincts.
My old man, who worked for Mr. Disney for 28 years, once told me, "You know, Walt isn't just the guy on the t.v. Walt can also be a shit."
Sure he could be. Just like every other human who walks the planet. Walt Disney wasn't a plaster saint. Wasn't a corporate symbol. He was a man.
Add On: Floyd N. has his own take here.
(I agree with Floyd about taking people out of the context of their times. By today's standards, Abraham Lincoln would be a deep-dyed bigot. And many Hollywood liberals from the 1930s would be considered horrid today because of the racial stereotyping in their movies. Gone With The Wind is more racist, by today's standards, than Song of the South, yet South is the picture that's been deep-sixed by the Disney Company.)