The SAG Awards brought forth some well-deserved wins for the biggest actors and actresses on the big screen and television. As we continue our trek through this year’s awards season, we’ve seen many stars take the stage and use their acceptance speeches to speak out against injustices and for the causes in which they believe. David Harbour, star of Stranger Things, gave a stirring and bold speech in the wake of President Trump’s executive order banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States.
After Stranger Things won the SAG award for Best Television Show, and with the cast by his side, Harbour issued a call to arms aimed at creators, encouraging them “to battle against fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominately narcissistic culture.” He continued, “In light of all that's going on in the world today, it's difficult to celebrate.”
As he continued to speak, his words of encouragement drew nods of appreciation and agreement. The most notable reaction came from co-star Winona Ryder, who seemed to have been experiencing all of the emotional expressions a human can have during the speech, which became viral immediately.
"We will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts; those who have no home. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters, and when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions … we will punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul and with heart and with joy.”
Harbour further pledged that he and the cast of Stranger Things would use their talents and craft to help win the battle against the “monsters” in real life and to create a more empathetic society. All the while during the awards ceremony, protestors assembled at airports across the country to fight against the Muslim ban.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Harbour stated that the speech was not meant to be entirely political and instead was his attempt to "make people feel not alone." He also tweeted after the award ceremony, sharing his gratitude and remarking on the numerous Winona Ryder memes sprouting up across social media.
My fellow artists. There is no greater honor than to be counted among you in the fight to bring us together. And the Winona memes are epic? pic.twitter.com/ioGUpBx9zZ— David Harbour (@DavidKHarbour) January 30, 2017
Many other winners at the SAG Awards followed suit, sharing their own personal stories and the disdain for the Muslim ban and also criticized the actions taken during Trump’s first week in office. Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, while accepting her award for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series, shared the story of how her father escaped religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France. She gave a moving speech, stating, "I'm an American patriot. And I love this country, and because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes. And this immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American.”
Louis-Dreyfus went on to quote a statement by WGA (Writers Guild of America), sister guild to the Screen Actors Guild, “Our guilds are unions of storytellers who always welcomed those from the nations of varying beliefs who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful for them. We stand with them. And we will fight for them.”