Meryl Streep delivered a shocking speech at the National Board of Reviews Gala on Tuesday night, in which she slammed Walt Disney for having been a “gender bigot” and “anti-Semitic."
While presenting Emma Thompson with the Best Actress Award for her role as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, Meryl spoke out against the late animation icon, blasting him for sexist and racist tendencies.
“Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women,” said the Oscar winner. “Disney who brought joy 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…”
After reading a rejection letter from Walt to a young woman who had applied to his cartooning training program in 1938 ("Women do not do any of the creative work," he wrote), the August: Osange County star went on to praise Emma Thompson’s work.
“Not only is she irascible, she’s practically a saint…Emma considers very carefully what she is putting out in the culture. Emma thinks, ‘Is this helpful?’ Not, ‘Will it build my brand?’ Not, ‘Will it give me billions?’”
Meryl may not be a fan of Walt, who died of lung cancer in 1966, but she seems to harbour no ill will towards the enduring Disney brand. The actress is set to appear in the upcoming Disney film Into the Woods, in which she plays a witch.