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Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech has an important lesson for all leaders
Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech has an important lesson for all leaders

Numerous talented actors won honours on Sunday night at the 74th Golden Globe Awards, but there was one thing everyone took away with them.

Meryl Streep’s speech had a deep and meaningful lesson for all – specifically those in leadership positions.

She began by highlighting the diversity of Hollywood and saying that “it’s just a bunch of people from other places”. This led her to name just a few of the many well-known actors that come from all over the world including Jerusalem-born Natalie Portman and Ruth Negga who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Streep, making a clear reference to the political ambitions of Donald Trump, continued: “So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.” This was met with a round of applause.

However, the magnitude of her speech was delivered among a silent crowd.

Making further reference to Donald Trump’s behaviour (without mentioning his name), she said: “there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. 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, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”

While Streep’s speech may have been focused on one particular individual, it also highlighted the responsibility leaders have as role models and custodians of ethics and morality.

She continued: “And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled 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, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”

This is supported by a recent study from Prophet which found that a CEO’s personal brand is vital and that 80% of those surveyed believe it is the responsibility of the CEO to be a role model in society.

Furthermore, 86% believe the CEO should role model the behaviours that they expect of their employees.

However, not everyone agrees with what Streep had to say. Unsurprisingly, President-Elect Donald Trump had a few things to tweet in response to the actor's Golden Globes speech.

In a series of tweets continuing on from each other, Trump insulted Streep calling her a "Hillary flunky" and defended the actions she mentioned, regarding the disabled reporter.

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