Meryl Streep Scorns Walt Disney in Award Speech

Streep Scorns Disney

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”  Tell that to actress Meryl Streep, who scorns Walt Disney in 10 minute speech prior to awarding Emma Thompson, the best actress award at the National Board of Review Awards. Just for the record Streep, for once was not invited to accept an award. It was a cold 14 degrees in Manhattan, N.Y. , but Streep  turned on the heat as she spewed  her disdain of Walt Disney, the man who many revere as “Uncle Walt.”  One would be hard pressed  to find a person in the USA, and in many parts of the world who do not know who Walt Disney was.

Disney is best known for building an entertainment empire, and co-founded Walt Disney Productions with his brother Roy O.  Disney World and Disney Land one of their many creations in which many children think of as the happiest place on earth. Forbes has the company founded in 1923 and the current market value at $103.500 billion.

Although Streep was not invited to accept an award, she used her public platform  and scorned Disney for not liking women, or cats.  Apparently she does. Streep aligns herself with her actress friend Emma Thompson, whom she openly referred to as a ” rabid man-eating feminist like me!”

Streep was awarding the best actress award to Thompson for her portrayal of a tribute to “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers in the movie Saving Mr. Banks.  The newly released movie is about the man Walt Disney and his promise to his daughters to make the movie Mary Poppins. Streep gave Emma accolades of praise and then turned her focus on Walt Disney who was played by two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks.

Streep started on a good note when she referred to Disney and then it all went sour. She accused Disney of being a gender bigot, and being an Anti-Semitic. Her only evidence to support her accusations was a letter from 1938, which she read in its entirety. The letter was from  Disney’s production company’s policy to a young woman named Mary Ford of Arkansas, who had made application to Disney for the training program in cartooning.  Ms. Ford was informed that women do not do creative work, as that task was performed by young men, However, it went on to offer her work , in a position of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink, and so forth.  Disney’s company was aligned with the times as back in 1938, there were very few work opportunities for women.

Neal Gabler wrote a thorough biography titled Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, published in 2006. After all the research he has done, he concludes  that Disney’s influence can only be measured by how thoroughly he reshaped the culture and American consciousness.

Disney is gone, but his  legacy will forever remain in the hearts of many.  Streep scorns Disney yet she  is set to appear in the  upcoming Disney film Into the Woods, based on the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical.   What is the best word to describe someone who says they are against what a person stands for, but uses their company for their own gain? A hypocrite, a user, or two-faced? In this instance,  Meryl Streep might be perceived as being all three.

By Marianne Hernandez


Vanity Fair

L.A. Times