Donald Trump called Meryl Streep an "overrated actress" on Monday after the three-time Oscar winner publicly criticized him for having belittled a disabled journalist.
Without naming the president-elect, Streep, the most admired U.S. actress of her generation, assailed him while giving a lifetime achievement acceptance speech at Sunday night's Golden Globe awards.
Her speech received more than a million YouTube views. In it, Streep recalled her dismay at Trump's imitation of Serge Kovaleski, a disabled New York Times reporter, during the 2016 election campaign.
"This instinct to humiliate when it's modelled by someone in the public platform by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life," the "Sophie's Choice" actress said.
Trump on Monday tweeted that Streep was "one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood." His comment sparked a top trending Twitter hashtag #ThingsTrumpThinksAreOverrated with users suggesting other issues he had similarly dismissed.
"Being a war hero," tweeted one.
"Laws against nepotism," suggested another.
"Hamilton the musical," recalled another, while one user added "American intelligence services."
Trump on Twitter denied mocking the reporter when he flailed his arms and slurred his speech at a campaign event. His top aide, Kellyanne Conway, said on Monday that the media should pay more attention to Trump's feelings than his statements.
"You want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than what’s in his heart," Conway told CNN.
Streep also urged viewers to support press freedom through the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Donations totalling $88,000 have poured in since her speech, more than the group received in the entire month of December, which was its best ever single month, deputy executive director Robert Mahoney told Reuters on Monday.
"This has been a fantastic show of support for the CPJ," Mahoney said, adding the CPJ was not aware Streep planned to mention its work at the Globes ceremony.
Josh Earnest, spokesman for President Barack Obama, said Streep had exercised her right to free speech with a thoughtful, deeply felt message. Trump succeeds Obama on Jan. 20.
Others, including Meghan McCain, daughter of Republican Senator John McCain, took another view.
"This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don't start recognising why and how - you will help him get re-elected," she wrote on Twitter.
(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham in Washington and Jill Serjeant in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Lisa Von Ahn and Howard Goller)