Meryl Streep has said she has become a target since she took on US President Donald Trump in her Golden Globes speech in January.
The award-winning actress renewed her criticism of Trump as she addressed a cheering audience at a fundraising gala for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT group.
As the audience laughed, she referred to Trump’s tweet after her Globes speech, in which he called the celebrated actress “overrated”.
“Yes, I am the most overrated, over-decorated and currently, I am the most over-berated actress … of my generation,” said Meryl.
She noted that she wished she could simply stay at home “and load the dishwasher” rather than take a podium to speak out — but that “the weight of all these honours” she’s received in her career compelled her to speak out.
“It’s terrifying to put the target on your forehead,” she said.
“And it sets you up for all sorts of attacks and armies of brownshirts and bots and worse, and the only way you can do it is if you feel you have to. You have to! You don’t have an option. You have to.”
The actress did not elaborate on the type of attacks she may have been subjected to since her Globes speech, or from whom.
Meryl, 67, was receiving the group’s National Ally for Equality Award, and was the huge draw of the evening.
Introduced by filmmaker Ken Burns, she took the stage to a thunderous ovation.
She said of Trump, she said: “But if we live through this precarious moment — if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter — we will have much to thank this president for.
“Because he will have woken us up to how fragile freedom really is.”
The country has now learned, she said, “how the authority of the executive, in the hands of a self-dealer, can be wielded against the people, and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights”.
She added: “The whip of the executive can, through a Twitter feed, lash and intimidate, punish and humiliate, delegitimise the press and all of the imagined enemies with spasmodic regularity and easily provoked predictability.”
At the end, Meryl made a passionate call for religious liberty — the right, as she said, “to live our lives with God or without Her”.
“All of us have the human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said.
“If you think people were mad,” she closed, “when they thought the government was coming after their guns, wait until you see when they try to take away our happiness.”