Actors Blast Trump's Immigration Ban at SAG Awards

The awards show aired amid protests against the president's executive order.

It didn't take long for the SAG Awards to get political Sunday night. 

When Ashton Kutcher took the stage to introduce the show, he welcomed the crowd "and everyone in airports that belong in my America!" he said to applause from the audience. "You are part of the fabric of who we are, and we we love you and we welcome you."

"We also welcome you to the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards..." he joked. 

Several award winners also addressed President Donald Trump's controversial executive order and immigration ban in their acceptance speeches. 

Protests continued Sunday across the country against Trump's immigration and travel ban, with demonstrations at LAX in Los Angeles, JFK in New York, Dulles in Washington and Logan Airport in Boston gaining support. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was reportedly part of the group at LAX to demonstrate in support of travelers being detained from countries on the banned list, which includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Upon winning best actress in a comedy series for HBO's Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus joked that whether the Russians "did or did not hack" this awards show, "this award is legitimate and I won. I'm the winner, the winner is me. Landslide!"

The actress added that she is "horrified" by the immigrant ban, being the child of an immigrant. "My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France," she said. "I am American patriot. I love this country and because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes. And this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American." 

Accepting his award for best actor in a comedy series, Shameless' William H. Macy said he'd actually like to "thank President Trump for making Frank Gallagher seem so normal." 

Speaking for the cast of Orange Is the New Black, who won best ensemble in a comedy series, Taylor Schilling spoke about Trump's immigration ban: "We stand up here representing a diverse group of people, representing generations of families who have sought a better life here," Schilling said, as castmembers shouted out their countries of origin. "We know that it's going to be up to us and all of you to keep telling stories. What united us is stronger than the forces that seek to divide us."

 

Upon winning the SAG Award for best male actor in a supporting role for Moonlight, Mahershala Ali delivered a powerful speech about being a Muslim in America. He told the crowd, "When we get caught up in the minutiae and the details that make us all different, I think there's two ways of seeing that. There's the opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique, and then there's an opportunity to go to war about it and say that this person is different from me, I don't like you, let's battle."

"I'm a Muslim," said the actor proudly, adding that his mother, an ordained minister, "didn't do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted." But now, he says, they "put things to the side" and "we love each other." 

David Harbour spoke on behalf of the cast of Stranger Things, who won best ensemble in a drama series: "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," he said. "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 home. We will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters. And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the 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 weak, the disenfranchised and the marginalized!"

The executive order was also a point of conversation and protest on the SAG Awards red carpet, with Dev Patel telling The Hollywood Reporter that he had just flew in from India, and "to fly into what was a nightmare, to realize that this is actually happening right now in the world, in a country where I live, it's heartbreaking. The first thought that came in my head was just thousands of children and mothers and young fathers that have turned up to these shores with hope, and they're being swatted away. It's just so divisive and negative and wrong. It's scary, it's really scary." 

Actors including Kerry Washington, who wore safety pins on the red carpet in solidarity with refugees, and The Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg and his wife, actress Jocelyn Towne, who appeared on the red carpet with a sign that read: "Refugees welcome." Words across Towne's chest read: "Let Them In."

The White House on Sunday released a statement defending the immigration order, specifically taking aim at the media's coverage of the ban thus far. “America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border," read the statement. "America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say."

The awards were handed out at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.

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