Actors from Stranger Things, Veep, Hidden Figures and more took their opportunity on stage during the Screen Actors Guild awards to call out President Donald Trump’s recent immigration ban.
Ashton Kutcher (That ‘70s Show, The Ranch) started off the evening by welcoming members of SAG-AFTRA (the actors union), people at home and “everyone at airports that belong in my America.” Kutcher added that “you are a part of the fabric of who we are,” sending a message to refugees and green card-holders stuck overseas or detained in airports that they were loved and welcomed.
Kutcher’s comments come just two days after Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven majority muslim countries went into effect. Since then, there have been massive protests at airports across the country following the detainment of refugees and green card holders who were caught in transit. On Sunday, Trump’s team lifted the ban on green card holders — those who have attained permanent residency in the United States — but the ban on immigrants and refugees from those seven countries will continue for its original 90-day period.
While Kutcher may have been the first actor to call out Trump’s ban, he was far from the last over the course of the evening. Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, also spoke out. Dreyfus, whose father fled from Nazi Germany during the second World War, said as a patriot she was proud of her country, but disgusted by its blemishes.
“The immigrant ban is a blemish and it’s un-American,” Louis-Dreyfus said, before addressing a group of immigrants who are SAG-AFTRA members. “We are grateful for them. We stand with them. We fight for them.”
Later in the evening, Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali opened up about his personal journey as a Muslim, condemning the immigration ban Trump had imposed. Ali, who won the award for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role, told this colleagues that as a country, people needed to stop focusing on what made each other different and focus on the values they share.
“I think what I learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when we persecute people,” Ali said. “The fold into themselves. And 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.
“Tell him that he mattered, that he was okay and accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that.”
One of the last speeches of the night came from David Harbour, who plays Chief Jim Hopper on Stranger Things. After the series picked up the award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, Harbour took to the stage with his fellow actors to accept the award, using his time to vehemently attack and condemn the immigration ban.
“It’s a call of arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and through our art to battle fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture,” Harbour said. “And through our craft to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society that serve infinite truths.
“That serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired, they are not alone.”
Actors aren’t the only high-profile people speaking out against the immigration ban. Companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Lyft and others in the tech industry have all articulated their disappointment following Trump’s order.
The next big award show regarding film is the Oscars, which take place on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET. Considering the political climate, expect to see more of the same speeches that occurred at the SAGs last night.