Meryl Streep is being accused of racism for a fashion choice while promoting her latest film “Suffragette,” which centres on the British women’s suffrage movement.
During a photo shoot for the magazine Time Out London, Streep and her “Suffragette” co-stars sported T-shirts emblazoned with the quote “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.”
The quote is from a 1913 speech delivered by British women’s rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst, in which she said: “Know that women, once convinced that they are doing what is right, that their rebellion is just, will go on, no matter what the difficulties, no matter what the dangers, so long as there is a woman alive to hold up the flag of rebellion. I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”
The photo quickly circulated on social media, with many linking the T-shirt slogan to America’s history of slavery and civil war.
You know there was a black intern sitting at the back of the room during this photo shoot just shaking her head. pic.twitter.com/EJtPrErkST
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) October 5, 2015
— Tyree Boyd-Pates (@TyreeBP) October 5, 2015
Streep, who portrays Pankhurst in the film, had already been on the receiving end of criticism following her interview with Time Out Magazine. When asked if she’s a feminist, the three-time Oscar winner replied: “I am a humanist, I am for a nice easy balance.”
The film has also come under fire for glossing over the fact that women of colour were actively excluded from the fight for voting and equality rights.
— feminism & burritos (@nashwakay) October 5, 2015