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Meryl Streep delivers impassioned acceptance speech at Golden Globes

The legendary actress was onstage to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award Sunday night, but turned her speech into a plea for tolerance.
/ Source: TODAY

Meryl Streep took the stage Sunday night at the Golden Globes to accept a lifetime career achievement: The Cecil B. DeMille Award. But she used her time onstage to speak from the heart about her fears regarding the upcoming presidency of President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

Referring to comments Trump made during his campaign, she spoke about a common humanity among Americans, native-born or not.

Meryl Streep accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 8, 2017.Handout / Getty Images

"Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick us all out, you'll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts," she said in a passionate, tear-filled voice.

She added, "Who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It's just a bunch of people from other places."

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The one "performance" from 2015 that truly stood out, she said, was Trump's own: When he mocked The New York Times' Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with disabilities, by waving his hands around.

"There was nothing good about it, but it did its job," she told the audience. "It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can't get it out my head because it wasn't in a movie; it was in real life."

She noted that leaders have a responsibility to rise above cheap shots. "That instinct to humiliate when it's modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone's life because it gives permission for others to do the same," she said.

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"Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence," she added. "When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."

But she had words for those behind the scenes to make sure Trump is called out when necessary. "We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage," she said. "We're going to need (journalists) going forward and they're going to need us to safeguard the truth."

And poignantly, she ended her speech with a quote from the late Carrie Fisher: "As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, 'Take your broken heart, make it into art.' "

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