Meryl Streep described the world-famous Walt Disney as sexist and anti-Semitic during the National Board of Review dinner in New York City. These comments were made during her presentation of an award to Emma Thompson on Tuesday, January 7.
Emma Thompson recently starred in Saving Mr. Banks alongside Tom Hanks, who portrayed Walt Disney during the creation process behind Mary Poppins.
The Oscar-winning actress made a ten-minute long speech. EW quoted Streep.
“Disney, who brought joy arguably 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.”
Streep proceeded, then, to read a letter from 1938. This letter was from the Walt Disney animation trainee program, written in response to a female applicant’s desire to join the team. She was rejected.
Upon seeing Thomspon’s most recent film, Saving Mr. Banks, Streep commented on the dynamics between Walt Disney and Mrs. PL Travers.
“When I saw the film, I could just imagine Walt Disney’s chagrin at having to cultivate PL Travers’ favor for the 20 years that it took to secure the rights to her work. It must have killed him to encounter in a woman an equally disdainful and superior creature, a person dismissive of his own considerable gifts and prodigious output and imagination.”
Can’t get enough Meryl Streep? Be sure to go see her next big project, the Disney onscreen adaptation of Broadway’s Into the Woods!