At the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, Director Michael Moore used the world premiere of his latest film, Where to Invade Next, to help draw attention to Meryl Streep’s Equal Rights Amendment advocacy.
In June, the Oscar-winning actress and feminist sent a packet to each member of Congress, which included a personally written letter and a copy of ERA Coalition head Jessica Neuwirth’s book, Equal Means Equal.
“I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality – for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself – by actively supporting the equal rights amendment,” wrote the 66-year-old.
“A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality – equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights,” added Streep.
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in 1923, but after decades of stiff opposition from organized labor and other groups, including a large number of women, the amendment died in 1982.
Streep is among a number of activists who have been behind continued attempts to round up support for the ERA, which has been seen before every congressional session since it died.
Expressing disappointment that all 535 of Streep’s letters were ignored by congress, and explaining how he owed her a solid after she visually scorned booing audience members after Moore won a 2003 Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, the director name dropped Streep as he addressed his audience inside the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, in hopes he could publicize the campaign, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We are friendly and she has been a fan and a supporter, that’s safe to say,” Moore told THR. “When I was booed at the Oscars in 2003 when I won (for Bowling for Columbine), I remember her, she was down front. When the booing started up in the balcony — from the sponsors mostly — she whipped around like, ‘Who is doing that?’ I can still see her face.”
A year later, Moore said he ran into Streep, and she was still focused on finding those who jeered his victory.
“She said that she wanted to know who was booing. I have a total admiration for her. She’s the real deal.”
Moore was unable to draw any real attention to Streep’s ERA advocacy at TIFF but told THR he later spoke to actress Patricia Arquette, who used her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech to highlight wage disparities.
Moore hinted to the industry publication he and Arquette are now working together on something.
“I can’t say any more about it right now. I will just say that I believe change is a-coming in America,” said Moore. “When change happens for women, one of the big beneficiaries of it are you and I. I’m very optimistic and very hopeful.”