One entertainment icon had more than a few unkind words for another one as Meryl Streep "delivered a sharp rebuke to Walt Disney for alleged sexist and anti-Semitic views at the National Board of Review awards gala in New York," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"Streep was on hand to present an acting award to Emma Thompson for her portrayal of the prickly British author and ‘Mary Poppins’ creator P.L. Travers in the new film ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ which dramatizes Disney’s efforts to persuade Travers to adapt her books into a musical," the report notes.
Citing media reports, the Times says Streep first fired off some humorous quips, but then "turned serious and called Disney ‘a gender bigot,’ noting that ‘some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women.’ She quoted a letter that Disney’s company wrote in 1938 to an aspiring female animator, which said, ‘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.’"
The three-time Oscar-winning actress also accused Disney of supporting an anti-Semitic lobbying group.
"Streep’s comments offer a markedly different perspective from the sparkly portrayal of Uncle Walt in ‘Saving Mr. Banks.’ In the film, Disney is portrayed by yet another beloved Hollywood star, Tom Hanks, as a wholesome, good-natured genius whose main concern is making merriment," the Times notes.
Hanks has reportedly talked previously about the movie’s avoidance of "the skeletons in Disney’s closet," the report says, with the actor noting that the movie is more about Travers than it is about Disney.
The Times piece adds: "Presumably, Streep’s grudge against Disney isn’t insurmountable, as she is set to appear in the upcoming Disney film ‘Into the Woods,’ based on the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical."