The 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards became political in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens from seven countries from entering the U.S. Stranger Things actor David Harbour brought down the house with a passionate speech rallying against hate.
Harbour accepted the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble Drama Series on behalf of the cast of Stranger Things. The speech started off with customary thank you’s to Netflix and the people behind Stranger Things, but he quickly switched to deliver a bigger message. Although he didn’t expect to win, Harbour later said that he planned what he wanted to say ahead of time and with encouragement from his cast mates.
He called his fellow actors to arms to fight against “fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture” and channeled the misfits of Stranger Things to show how to push back against the political climate, even with a punch or two.
“Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies,” Harbour said. “We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters. And when we are at a loss against the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized.”
Like many who’ve denounced Trump and his policies in recent months, Harbour doesn’t mention Trump by name. But he also doesn’t need to, and by the end, most of the audience is up on their feet. Winona Ryder could barely contain herself.
You can read Harbour’s speech below.
I would just like to say that, in light of all that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things, but this award from you who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world is a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper. And through our art to battle against fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture and through our craft to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired they are not alone.
We are united in that we are all human beings and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting, and mysterious ride that is being alive.
Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 midwesterners 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 at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, 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, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility. Thank you.