The INSIDER Summary:
• “Stranger Things” won a SAG award for Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
• David Harbour (Chief Hopper) gave a rousing speech on behalf of the cast.
• He spoke about their dedication to sheltering “freaks and outcasts — those who have no hope.”
• Though Harbour never mentioned President Trump, the speech was clearly directed at the current political climate.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place Sunday, January 29, and among the big winners of the evening was the entire cast of Netflix’s summer hit “Stranger Things.” The cast won the award for Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and it was clear by their joyous reactions that they couldn’t be happier.
David Harbour — who plays Chief Hopper in the show — wound up in front of the mic and spoke on behalf of his “Stranger Things” family. Based on their reactions (especially Winona Ryder’s confounded expressions) nobody was expecting Harbour to burst into a prepared tirade about inclusion and the actors’ responsibility to help cultivate a better world.
After thanking the “Stranger Things” creators and their casting director Carmen Cuba, Harbour switched the subject and started a run-on sentence that blew everyone away:
I would just like to say that in light of everything 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 predominately 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.
Harbour continued as the crowd began cheering and fellow cast mate Finn Wolfhard (Mike) jumped up and down next to him:
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 hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters.
The next section of Harbour’s speech seemed to point at the recent viral video showing Richard Spencer — a prominent white supremacist — getting punched in the face while he was doing a TV interview. Reactions to the attack were mixed, and recent headlines covering the event ask “is it ok to punch a Nazi?”
“When we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and 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 meek and the disenfranchised and the marginalized,” Harbour said. “And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility.”
The audience of actors and SAG members were on their feet, cheering on Harbour and his psyched “Stranger Things” family.
After leaving the stage, the rest of the “Stranger Things” cast took to Twitter to show their support of Harbour’s message.
Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) called it the “best speech of the night.”
And Shannon Purser (Barb) called Harbour “the best leading man we could have hoped for.”
Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) said the speech made him feel “unstoppable.”
Harbour later posted a selfie of himself with the SAG award, saying: “My fellow artists. There is no greater honour than to be counted among you in the fight to bring us together. And the Winona memes are epic.”
Winona Ryder’s facial expressions throughout Harbour’s speech were some of people’s favourite part. Dave Itzkoff, culture writer for the New York Times, captured four of her best faces in a tweet:
But Winona memes aside, Harbour’s speech was memorable for its strong message of inclusion and standing up for the marginalized people around us.
Watch the full speech below:
My fellow artists. There is no greater honour than to be counted among you in the fight to bring us together. And the Winona memes are epic???? pic.twitter.com/ioGUpBx9zZ
— David Harbour (@DavidKHarbour) January 30, 2017
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