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Disney was a 'gender bigot' - Meryl

London - Meryl Streep has blasted Walt Disney for being a "gender bigot".

The 'August: Osage County' star hit out at the business magnate while speaking at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gala in New York City on Tuesday (07.01.14), where she was invited to honour Emma Thompson for her portrayalof Mary Poppins' creator P.L. Travers in 'Saving Mr Banks'.

Meryl Streep accepts the Icon award for 'August: Osage County' at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on January 4, 2014. Credit: Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP

Streep said of Thompson: "Not only is she not irascible, she's practically a saint. There's something so consoling about that old trope, but Emma makes you want to kill yourself, because she's a beautiful artist, she's a writer, she's a thinker, she's a living, acting conscience."

However, the 64-year-old actress used her nine-minute speech to throw in some subtle digs at Walt Disney, who she branded a "hideous anti-Semite".

According to Variety, Streep said: "Some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn't really like women", before quoting animator Ward Kimball as saying: "He didn't trust women or cats."

She then read out a letter written by Walt Disney's company in 1938 to an aspiring female animator, which said: "Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men."

Streep rounded off her speech with a poem she had written for Thompson, titled 'An ode to Emma or What Emma is Owed', where she referred to her friend as a "knockout" and "Oscar gold" - Bang Showbiz

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