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Meryl Streep calls Walt Disney sexist, gender bigot

entertainment Updated: Jan 09, 2014 18:02 IST

Oscar-winner Meryl Streep has slammed Hollywood icon Walt Disney for allegedly being "anti-Semitic" and a "gender bigot" at an award show.

Streep, 64, who is considered one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood, ripped off the great animator while honouring her friend Emma Thompson at National Board of Review Awards in New York City last night.

Thompson played Mary Poppins creator PL Travers in Saving Mr Banks which depicts how Disney convinced the taciturn author to let him adapt her book for the big screen.

Travers and Disney, however, never saw eye-to-eye.

Streep generously praised the best actress winner Thompson as a "saint" but offered a different perspective on Disney.

"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 said in her 10-minute-long speech, according to Entertainment Weekly.

"When I saw the film, I could just imagine Walt Disney's chagrin at having to cultivate P L Travers' favour for 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," Streep noted.

Streep then read out a 1938 rejection letter which the company sent to a female applicant to a cartoon training programme.

"Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men," Streep read from the letter.