On Sunday night, during her speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Meryl Streep did something unusual for a person whose entire life is scrutinized by the public — she gave journalists a shoutout. Streep spoke out against President-elect Donald Trump and gave a rousing call to action for the public — Hollywood mega-millionaires included — to support the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that fights lawsuits, harassment, surveillance, and persecution of journalists around the globe. It turns out that Hollywood listened; CPJ reports it raised over $80,000 from more than 1,000 donations in less than 24 hours since Streep took the stage.
Streep started her speech by acknowledging that the Hollywood community, even those at the massively overpaid top, is full of foreigners and immigrants (although it’s still plagued by a lack of diversity and tone deaf whitewashing). But she quickly turned to Donald Trump, who she said provided the most powerful moment onscreen of the year when he mocked Serge F. Kovaleski, a disabled New York Times reporter who had refuted one of his many, many false claims.
After hammering Trump’s disgusting, uncouth conduct toward Kovaleski, Streep turned to the role of journalist in the upcoming Trump administration.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community, to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is a nonprofit organization that runs primarily on donations. In 2016, it raised around $1 million, making the surge in donations after Streep’s speech close to 10 percent of its yearly haul in one night. CPJ spends most of its budget on researching and documenting cases where journalists are threatened or persecuted, providing financial support for journalists in danger, and seeking justice through diplomatic negotiation when journalists are killed. Hollywood donations after Streep’s speech, which you can watch below, may not go straight to journalists serving as watchdogs for the Trump administration, but $80,000 goes a long way to advocating for press freedom overseas.