Meryl Streep spoke about two instances in which she personally experience “real physical violence” in a speech at a recent awards ceremony.
In the speech honoring the work of women journalists, the star of the upcoming film “The Post” touched on topics including the importance of investigative journalism, the trailblazing work of CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and the time her “instincts served [her] well” when she was being attacked.
“I played dead and waited until the blows stopped–watching like people say you do from about 50 feet above from where I was beaten,” she said at the event for the Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday. “And in the second instance, someone else was being abused and I just went completely nuts and went after this man. Ask Cher–she was there. And the thug ran away, it was a miracle.” (Cher has spoken of a mugging incident she and Streep witnessed in the ’80s in the past, per People.)
“But I was changed by these events on a cellular level because women do know something particular about coming to the danger place,” she continued. “We come to it disadvantaged through the many millennia preceding our present moment and because of our vulnerability we anticipate danger we expect it, we’re hyper alert to it.”
Streep’s story came as she was addressing the dangers that female investigative journalists bravely face to do their jobs.
“We do recognize the special cocktail of venom and ridicule which is always tinged with sexual threat that’s served up online for women–any woman in any profession–that stands up to tell the truth,” she said.
Streep stars as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, the first woman to publish a major American newspaper, in Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers drama “The Post.” Tom Hanks co-stars as editor Ben Bradlee in the film, which opens in select theaters Dec. 22 and nationwide Jan. 12, 2018.
Watch her speech: