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Meryl Streep Tributes Emma Thompson & Decries Walt Disney's Sexism

Meryl Streep Tributes Emma Thompson & Decries Walt Disney's SexismBroadway and Hollywood superstar Meryl Streep paid elaborate homage to fellow stalwart stage and screen actress Emma Thompson as part of this week's National Board Of Review Honors this week as well as decried the sometime sexist and racist practices of movie mogul Walt Disney in the spirited speech.

Of note, Thompson shares the screen with a fictionalized version of Disney portrayed by Tom Hanks in the new feature film SAVING MR. BANKS and Streep herself headlines the new Disney-produced feature film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's INTO THE WOODS, set to be released on Christmas Day 2014, so both leading ladies are more than merely familiar with the house of mouse as it functions in the 21st century, though Streep did not mince words when elaborating on historical facts pertaining to Disney's legacy.

Streep shared, "Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn't really like women... There is a piece of received wisdom that says that the most creative people are often odd or irritating, eccentric, damaged, difficult; that along with enormous creativity comes certain deficits in humanity or decency. We are familiar with this trope in our business: Mozart, Van Gogh... Tarantino, Eminem. Ezra Pound said, 'I have not anyone worth a damn who was not irascible.' Well I have: Emma Thompson. Not only is she not irascible, she's practically a saint."

Furthermore, Streep added, "Emma considers very carefully what the f*ck she is putting out in the culture. Emma thinks, 'Is this helpful?' Not, 'Will it build my brand?' Not, 'Will it give me billions?' Not, 'Does this express me, me, me in my unique and fabulous itself into all eternity in every universe for all time?'"

"That's a phrase from my Disney contract in my last movie. I'm serious," Streep joked.

Additionally, Streep revealed, "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 also opined, "When I saw the film, I could just imagine Walt Disney's chagrin at having to cultivate P.L. 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."

Check out the original story on the matter here.

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Pat Cerasaro Pat Cerasaro is BroadwayWorld's Chief Interviewer and Senior Editor, contributing exclusive columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Flash Fridays as well as additional special features and extensive news coverage. His work for the site has appeared in The New York Times, US Weekly, The Biography Channel, NBC and more.