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When Michaela Coel and Julianne Nicholson took to the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards stage on Sunday night, they used their acceptance speeches to platform the issues of sexual assault and women facing rights restrictions in places like Texas and Afghanistan.
The I May Destroy You creator, who won this year’s writing for a limited or anthology series or movie honor, began her speech by saying that it was for writers, but she ultimately ended with a powerful show dedication to assault survivors.
“Write the tale that scares you. That makes you feel uncertain. That isn’t comfortable. I dare you,” she began her speech. “In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible — for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success — don’t be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence.”
“I dedicate this story to every single survivor of sexual assault,” she concluded.
During her acceptance speech, Mare of Easttown star and supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie winner Julianne Nicholson gave a subtle nod to women impacted by the Texas abortion ban and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan following the U.S. troop withdrawal, telling the Emmys audience, “I owe this to you, and all of the ladies out there in Philadelphia, in Kabul, in Texas or anywhere struggling sometimes, finding it hard to be happy sometimes, understanding that life can be a lot sometimes, but never stopping, never losing hope, never giving up.”
Following President Biden’s decision to stand by the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan amid the unexpectedly rapid takeover of the country’s government by the Taliban, stars and other entertainment industry members including Angelina Jolie and Michael Moore weighed in on the humanitarian and political outcomes of the withdrawal. It was heavily criticized for its poor planning and disorganized evacuations, as well as an Islamic state attack at the Kabul airport that killed more than 100 Afghan civilians and 13 Americans soldiers.
Texas’ restrictive abortion law went into effect beginning in September after being passed by the state’s Congress and signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May. The restrictive law effectively bans most abortions by making it illegal to abort any pregnancy in which a heartbeat is detected. While there is no specific language about banning abortions after six weeks, it’s frequently been labeled a six-week abortion ban because that’s about the time when fetal cardiac activity can be detected.
The law not only makes no exceptions for rape, sexual abuse or incest but also gives power to the public, incentivizing individuals to police abortions. It allows any resident of Texas to sue an abortion provider or any other entity they suspect or allege is “aiding and abetting” abortions after that time. It was upheld by the conservative Supreme Court following a Sept. 2 ruling, which allowed the law to remain in effect as its legality is still being battled out in the lower courts.
While introducing the Emmy for supporting actress in a drama, Stephen Colbert also joked about the financial cost of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent recall election.
“Tonight I’m presenting the Emmy for supporting actress in a drama, but first I have the results of the special recall election for the 2018 Emmy for outstanding comedy,” Colbert began. “As you remember that year the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was duly elected with an overwhelming majority, but California law does allow for the recall of any Emmy Award.”
“If enough signatures are first obtained, meaning the 2018 Emmy winner for best comedy could soon be the Marvelous Mrs. Larry Elder,” he said. “With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Mrs. Maisel has survived the recall and will remain marvelous. Congratulations, and it only cost California $275 million.”
Colbert’s joke follows a positive outcome for Newsom on Sept. 14, after the California leader saw a recall effort to remove him from his current role foiled. Running against Newsom were 46 candidates, including reality television star Caitlyn Jenner and YouTuber Kevin Paffrath, who sought to replace him. With California voters voting “no,” the only successful recall attempt against a California governor remains to be in 2003, which saw movie star and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger unseat a Democrat, then-Gov. Gray Davis.
Newsom’s win was bolstered by Hollywood Democrats and progressives, including Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, director Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney Television chairman of entertainment Dana Walden and producer Matt Walden and singer-actress Barbra Streisand, who joined political leaders like President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren to both fundraise and support Newsom.
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