Hollywood Wages War Against Muslim Ban At SAG Awards
The reaction from the public to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban has been both swift and visceral.
Just one day after Trump’s executive order was signed, protesters descended across the country in outrage after several refugees were detained.
The order, which bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for a period of 90 days, also suspends the United States’ refugee system for a period of 120 days.
The act has been branded cruel and un-American, and quite unsurprisingly, has received widespread and global backlash from politicians, protesters and social media users.
And now Hollywood.
Big Bang Theory actor Simon Helberg, Ashton Kutcher, Dev Patel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali (among many others) took to the SAG awards Sunday night to make their feelings known about Trump’s controversial Muslim ban. And it didn’t take long for the show to turn political.
Helberg along with his wife, Jocelyn Towne, took the red carpet as an opportunity to show solidarity with immigrants and the people fighting for their rights at protests all over the nation.
Slum Dog Millionaire actor Patel branded the travel ban ‘horrible’ and ‘divisive’.
Ashton Kutcher addressed the issue in his opening monologue:
He opened up the SAG Awards by saying:
Good evening fellow SAG-AFTRA members and everyone at home, and everyone in airports that belong in MY AMERICA. You are a part of the fabric of who we are, and we love you and we welcome you.
Kutcher also tweeted a few hours before hosting the SAG Awards: “My wife came to this country on a refugee visa in the middle of the Cold War! My blood is boiling right now!”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won the television comedy actor award for her role in Veep, revealed her father fled Nazi-occupied France and called the immigration restrictions imposed by Trump a blemish on American history.
She said: “I love this country. I am horrified by its blemishes. This immigrant ban is a blemish and it’s un-American.”
But perhaps the best and most poignant acceptance speech of the evening came from Mahershala Ali.
Ali, who is Muslim, spoke about his own experience in his message about American empathy, or the lack thereof.
I think what I have learned from working on Moonlight, you see what happens when you persecute people, and they fold into themselves.
What I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan, was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community and taking that opportunity to uplift him and tell him he mattered, that he was okay. And accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that.
And it isn’t difficult to apply these actors’ words to the events that unfolded in the two days before the SAG Awards. Trump’s executive order saw American authorities detaining refugees, green card and visa holders as protests erupted around the country.
If it’s not evident to the president now – when millions are protesting around the nation – that a divided America is un-American, when will it be?