Celebs

Meryl Streep's Walt Disney slam draws response from family museum

Jan. 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM ET

Meryl Streep had some harsh words for Walt Disney's treatment of women, but the museum devoted to the late animator's life fired back late Wednesday.

The Walt Disney Family Museum also re-tweeted a link to a blog post written by former Disney animator Floyd Norman, whose first Disney film was 1958's "Sleeping Beauty."

Norman dubbed his post "Sophie's Poor Choice," referring to the 1982 film that earned Streep a best-actress Oscar. In it, he acknowledges that women in the 1930s and '40s were not given the employment chances men received, but pointed out that talented women were employed at Disney, as were Jewish and African-American workers.

"To be sure, Walt Disney had his faults like the rest of us," Norman wrote. "He was not a perfect man nor did we expect him to be. Like most of us, he continued to grow as he moved through life and in time he recognized women could compete alongside men. He knew that talent had no color or ethnicity and he judged people by their ability to do their job and do it well. Walt Disney was a man of his time, but he was determined not to be imprisoned by it. He dreamed of a better world and even had the audacity to try and build it. Hardly an American to be vilified. Walt Disney deserves to be celebrated."

Streep's comments came in a nine-minute speech delivered Tuesday night at the National Board of Review film awards dinner in New York. Streep was toasting Emma Thompson, who stars in the Disney film "Saving Mr. Banks" as "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers. In the film, Travers and Walt Disney battle over the translation of her bestselling book to the big screen.

But in the speech, Streep veered away from Thompson and discussed numerous repeated anecdotes about Disney's opinions, especially about women, calling him a "gender bigot" and quoting late animator Ward Kimball's statement that Disney "didn't trust women or cats."

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