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Hollywood reacts to Trump’s travel ban, as politics takes center stage at SAG Awards

For a night dedicated to celebrating the entertainment industry's achievements, politics made its presence known at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards; with members of Hollywood taking to the stage to call out the U.S. leader's recent actions, including his travel ban.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily block people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The motion sparked chaos at airports and protests took place as a result of Trump's actions.

Actors Simon Helberg (L) and Jocelyn Towne attend The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Frazer Harrison | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Actors Simon Helberg (L) and Jocelyn Towne attend The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Hollywood took its own stance on the matter, with several attendees using the Red Carpet or their acceptance speeches on Sunday to call out the President, while promoting a message of unity.

Awards ceremonies as of late have often been used as a platform for attendees to express their opinions on particular political issues.

At the 2016 Academy Awards, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, climate change, sexual assault and on-screen smoking were all brought to attention; while at this year's Golden Globes, actress Meryl Streep called out Trump for his behavior prior to him taking on his role as the 45th U.S. president. And it seems the SAG awards were no different.


Taking politics to the stage

Setting the tone for the evening, actor Ashton Kutcher welcomed the SAG Awards audience and "everyone in airports that belong in my America", telling them that they are "a part of the fabric of who we are, and we love you and we welcome you."

The actor also took to Twitter on Sunday, saying that while he respected his president, he did not respect the policy; adding that his wife – actress Mila Kunis – had come to the U.S. on a refugee visa in the middle of the Cold War.


Veep actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus echoed similar sentiment, saying the "immigrant ban is a blemish" and "un-American" after revealing that her father was an immigrant who fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France.

Other award winners also drew on personal experiences, with "Moonlight" actor Mahershala Ali talking about how he and his mother still love each other, despite their religious differences. Meanwhile, actress Sarah Paulson wanted to "protect the rights and liberties of people" in the U.S., making a plea for donations to the American Civil Liberties Union.


Calling for unity

After "Stranger Things" accepted the award for best cast in a drama series, actor David Harbour – who plays Police Chief Jim Hopper – said on behalf of his fellow cast members that they would "repel bullies" and "shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home."


Winona Ryder and David Harbour of 'Stranger Things' accept the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series onstage during The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Kevin Winter | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Winona Ryder and David Harbour of 'Stranger Things' accept the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series onstage during The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

"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 and the disenfranchised and the marginalized and we will do it all with soul with heart and with joy," he added.

The call for unity was repeated throughout the night, with the "Hidden Figures" cast saying that "love wins every time", when picking up the award for 'Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture'.

"This story is of unity. This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins every time," actress Taraji P. Henson said.

Making a statement

On the red carpet, actor Simon Helberg – who plays Howard Wolowitz on "The Big Bang Theory" – held a sign saying "Refugees Welcome", while his wife and actress Jocelyn Towne had the words "Let them in" written across her chest.

Meanwhile "Scandal's" lead actress Kerry Washington attached a safety pin to her white dress, stating on Instagram that it was to "show solidarity", adding that she and others "will not stop fighting for our safety & the safety of our fellow citizens and human beings. #NoBanNoWall".