Meryl Streep ripped into moviemaking icon Walt Disney while paying tribute to Saving Mr Banks star Emma Thompson at an awards show on Tuesday night (07Jan14).
Streep, who was among the frontrunners to land the role of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in the film, stepped up to honour her British pal at a National Board of Review gala in New York, where Thompson picked up a Best Actress award, and turned her tribute into a scathing attack on Disney, who she insisted "didn't like women".
In her 10-minute speech, which has been obtained by Variety and EW.com, Streep said, "Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn't really like women... Disney, who brought joy arguably to billions of people was, perhaps, or had some racist proclivities.
"He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group and he was certainly, on the evidence of his company's policies, a gender bigot...
"When I saw the film (Saving Mr Banks), I could just imagine Walt Disney's chagrin at having to cultivate P.L. Travers' favour for the 20 years that it took to secure the rights to her work.
"It must have killed him to encounter in a woman an equally disdainful and superior creature, a person dismissive of his own considerable gifts and prodigious output and imagination.
"There is a piece of received wisdom that says that the most creative people are often odd or irritating, eccentric, damaged, difficult; that along with enormous creativity comes certain deficits in humanity or decency.
"We are familiar with this trope in our business Mozart, Van Gogh... Tarantino, Eminem... Ezra Pound said, 'I have not anyone worth a damn who was not irascible'".
She then added, "Well I have Emma Thompson.Not only is she not irascible, she's practically a saint...Emma considers very carefully what the f**k she is putting out in the culture.
"Emma thinks, 'Is this helpful?' Not, 'Will it build my brand?' Not, 'Will it give me billions?' Not, 'Does this express me, me, me in my unique and fabulous itself into all eternity in every universe for all time?'"
tagged in Meryl Streep