Meryl Streep’s attack on Donald Trump at the Golden Globes for appearing to imitate a disabled reporter has been dismissed as hypocrisy by Margaret Thatcher’s official biographer.
British journalist Charles Moore, who has so far published two volumes of Thatcher’s biography, pointed out that the Democrat-supporting Streep “did very well out of imitating a vulnerable person in public” when she won an Oscar for playing Thatcher as a dementia sufferer in The Iron Lady, the 2011 biopic of the Conservative British prime minister.
Because Streep portrayed Thatcher, who was still alive when the film was released, in this way without consulting the politician’s family, Moore said Streep should “be careful when she speaks about disrespect for the afflicted” – the charge Streep laid at Trump’s door in her acceptance speech at the Globes.
During the speech, Streep lambasted Trump for supposedly imitating Washington Post reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a withered hand.
Streep said: “It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect.”
Writing in the latest edition of the Spectator, Charles Moore said Streep is a fine one to talk, having upset Thatcher’s family at the very end of Thatcher’s life by dwelling on her apparently faltering mind:
Trump supporters…point out that the gestures were almost exactly the same as those he used when he publicly mocked Ted Cruz and (separately) an American general, neither of whom is disabled. He was mimicking weaselly excuses, not disability.
In any event, Meryl Streep should be careful when she speaks about disrespect for the afflicted. The makers of the film The Iron Lady, in which Ms Streep starred, produced a box-office hit about the senility of Margaret Thatcher, while Lady Thatcher was still alive. No Thatcher family or office permission was sought. Many thought the portrayal was intrusive.
Meryl Streep won an Oscar for it, so she did very well out of imitating a vulnerable person in public. Her defence would probably be her favourite word — empathy. But this “empathy” was imposed upon Lady Thatcher without regard for how she, or those close to her, might feel.