Stars Who Can't Stand Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep commands not only the screen but also the respect of the audience, as she established herself as one of the greatest actors of all time — if not the greatest. Yet, not everyone is a fan of the three-time Academy Award winner and record-breaking nominee, with one American president even going as far as to call her "overrated." The controversial comment prompted Ben Affleck to speak out on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to say: "If there's one thing truly in this world that we know is not true, it's that Meryl Streep is overrated." 

Despite Affleck standing up for his fellow thespian, there are other celebrities, including an undisputed acting legend, who would argue the "The Devil Wears Prada" star to not be all that and a bag of chips. And it isn't only Hollywood peeps who hold grudges against Streep, either. Somehow, she drew the ire of the likes of iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and UFC President Dana White in the past, too. In Streep's case, it appears as if for every trophy she owns, there's a hater to match. That's life, though, since not everyone gets along or likes each other — no matter how many awards someone wins or their level of celebrity. The only difference here is that it's far more publicized because of who is involved and what they said.

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn stands head and shoulders above her peers as the person with the most Oscar wins for acting. As an era-defining leading lady and someone who wasn't afraid to speak her mind, she paved the way for other female actors, such as Meryl Streep, to be taken seriously in the entertainment industry and treated with the respect they deserve. As Hollywood is prone to do, though, Streep's rise to the top of the acting field saw her draw many comparisons to Hepburn — both because of their outspoken nature and their collection of accolades. While Streep hasn't exceeded Hepburn's Oscar wins, she managed to almost double the nominations received.

According to A. Scott Berg's 2003 biography of Hepburn titled "Kate Remembered," the screen queen shared many thoughts about the state of Hollywood at the time and the caliber of the actors, including Streep. Reportedly, Hepburn raved about the likes of Julia Roberts, Sally Field, John Travolta, and Harrison Ford, but she didn't hold such a high opinion of Streep — quite the contrary, in fact. "Meryl Streep was her least favorite modern actress on screen," Berg wrote. "'Click, click, click,' she said, referring to the wheels turning inside her head."

Hepburn died in June 2003, so it would have been interesting to see if her opinion of Streep would have changed in the future, considering the career and achievements that the latter has had since then.

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone built an astonishing career for herself, thanks to outstanding performances in films such as "Basic Instinct" and "Casino." As a result, she has received a number of awards, including a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy, and appeared alongside the who's who of Hollywood. Mention the name "Meryl Streep," though, and Stone is likely to provide strong opinions about what she epitomizes about showbiz, as Everything Zoomer's Johanna Schneller found out in 2021.

After the reporter asked Stone about what it was like to work with Streep in "The Laundromat," the actor questioned the phrasing and why everything is always about Streep. "The business was set up that we should all envy and admire Meryl because only Meryl got to be the good one," she said. "And everyone should compete against Meryl. I think Meryl is an amazingly wonderful woman and actress. But in my opinion, quite frankly, there are other actresses equally as talented as Meryl Streep."

Stone listed a litany of names she thought to be Streep's equals, while emphasizing that Streep isn't the be-all and end-all, but it's the way it has been positioned. In the same interview, Stone brought up Streep when discussing the #MeToo movement, saying: "I'm sure Meryl has a story. But I'm also sure if Meryl told you her story, she wouldn't be being Meryl, and she wouldn't be getting those jobs. Meryl can't be the envelope pusher. Because then she wouldn't get the jobs. Meryl's a smoother. That's what she does."

Donald Trump

In terms of the worst things Donald Trump has ever said, his comments about Meryl Streep prove to be on the tamer side. It all started after Trump took issue with Streep's speech at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards. Accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Streep used her platform to allude to Trump's previous actions, where he seemingly mocked disabled reporter Serge F. Kovaleski during his presidential campaign. She called it a "performance" — albeit not a virtuous one from a person in a place of power — and said, "It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can't get it out of my head, because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life."

Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter), Trump lashed back at Streep, writing: "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes." In a subsequent post, he proceeded to call Streep a "Hillary flunky" and denied making fun of the reporter.

In an interview with The New York Times, Trump admitted he didn't watch the Golden Globe Awards or actually see Streep's speech. However, he stood firm in his denial of ever ridiculing Kovaleski. "People keep saying I intended to mock the reporter's disability, as if Meryl Streep and others could read my mind, and I did no such thing," he said, while pointing out that Streep supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.

Karl Lagerfeld

Who has the strangest beef with Meryl Streep? Arguably, Karl Lagerfeld. In 2017, Lagerfeld spoke to Women's Wear Daily about an incident with Streep and her team that soured his experience of her. He alleged that Streep liked one of the Chanel gowns from a collection he designed, but requested an adjustment for her to wear it to the Academy Awards. Lagerfeld stated it wasn't a problem and work began on redesigning the dress, but the actor's team dropped a bombshell soon thereafter: "Don't continue the dress. We found somebody who will pay us," according to Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld explained how Chanel doesn't pay people to wear its clothing, while there's still a significant amount of work and effort put into making the outfits. "After we gift her a dress that's €100,000, we found later we had to pay," he said. "We give them dresses, we make the dresses, but we don't pay." Speaking about Streep, Lagerfeld added: "A genius actress, but cheapness also, no?"

After Streep's team denied the allegations, Lagerfeld walked back his comments a while later, claiming that he "misunderstood that Ms. Streep may have chosen another designer due to remuneration" and "regret[s] this controversy." However, Streep, through her representatives, wasn't letting it slide, as she issued a statement to WWD: "I do not take this lightly, and Mr. Lagerfeld's generic 'statement' of regret for this 'controversy' was not an apology. He lied, they printed the lie, and I am still waiting."

Bret Easton Ellis

After Meryl Streep's highly publicized speech at the 2017 Golden Globes, many celebrities supported her, especially after Donald Trump referred to her as "overrated." One person who didn't leap to her defense was author Bret Easton Ellis, whose famous novel "American Psycho" happens to be one of the books that inspired copycat crimes in real life.

On his podcast (via TheWrap), Ellis criticized a number of celebrities for their perceived "complete mental and emotional collapse" about Trump becoming president, and how while it was fine to dislike the elected president, they were overdoing it. He took specific issue with Streep using her time at the Golden Globe Awards to lay into Trump, rather than focus her attention on her peers.

"Instead of talking about all the filmmakers she had worked with and who had passed away in the last two years — Michael Cimino, Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron, or especially what it was like playing Carrie Fisher in 'Postcards From the Edge,' since Fisher had died just two weeks earlier," Ellis said, "Streep used this moment to go on an anti-Trump rant for 10 minutes on national TV, instead of eulogizing her friend." Ellis mentioned how Streep was "reinstating the moral superiority of the left" and threw subtle shade about the lavish nature of Streep's attire for the event, as well as the cost of her expensive property that was up for sale.

Susan Sarandon

In terms of actors who can match Meryl Streep's award-winning achievements and talent step for step, Susan Sarandon gives her a run for her money. She's won her own fair share of prestigious accolades and starred in unforgettable films like "Dead Man Walking," "Thelma & Louise," and "The Witches of Eastwick." However, in the late '80s, Sarandon expressed an issue she had regarding Streep's dominance in the film industry. 

Speaking to Fame magazine (via Chicago Tribune) in March 1989, Sarandon praised Streep's abilities as a performer, but explained how it appeared like every acting opportunity went to Streep first and everyone had to feed off the scraps or the roles she turned down. "I am one of those who think Meryl is a great actress," she said. "I don't elevate her to the goddess level, but she does get first crack at all the women's roles. If other women had the same shots she's had, they could equal her."

Sarandon also couldn't resist taking a shot at how Streep is portrayed by the media either, adding: "If her household runs as perfectly as her press would have us believe, I'll slash my throat."

Rose McGowan

A significant amount of work went into breaking the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017, and one of the loudest voices of the #MeToo movement was Rose McGowan, who used her platform to call out the rampant abuse in the entertainment industry. A number of celebrities spoke out thereafter, and decided to wear all black to the Golden Globe Awards to show solidarity and as a form of a silent protest.

McGowan wasn't left impressed, though, as she posted a now-deleted message on X (via HuffPost), reading: "Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black [at the Golden Globes] in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem." Subsequently, Streep released a statement, saying she was "hurt to be attacked by Rose McGowan" and she "did not know about Weinstein's crimes" before the news broke. Streep added that McGowan had her number, and she hoped they'd be able to discuss the matter because she wanted them to work together, as women, against the injustices they face in the industry.

McGowan softened her stance toward Streep in an interview with CNN in 2018, thanking her for speaking out. However, in a later interview with The Times that year, McGowan said it was "literally impossible" that Streep knew nothing of Weinstein's exploits.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Dana White

During Meryl Streep's 2017 Golden Globe Awards speech, she discussed how Hollywood is built by diversity and people from all walks of life. "Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners," she said, "and if we kick them all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts." While Streep's comments received a round of applause as she heaped praise on all the people who contribute to the arts in Hollywood, there were others who didn't appreciate how she did it at the expense of football and MMA. Notably, UFC President Dana White didn't appreciate what Streep said about MMA.

Speaking to TMZ (via The New Zealand Herald), White said: "It's not going to be everybody's thing and the last thing in the world I expect is an uppity, 80-year-old lady to be in our demographic and love mixed martial arts." He added that if she didn't like it, there's always the option to turn off the television or watch something else.

Where White found particular offense, though, is Streep suggesting MMA isn't an art. He argued that it is, and that the fighters deserve to be acknowledged for the efforts they put into becoming world-class martial artists. "To say something stupid like that is like saying she's not a talented actress, which she is," he said. "She's a very talented actress."

To read more about Hollywood celebrities, check out the Oscars' most controversial moments of all time.