Actor Bryan Cranston took on President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the press during his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards on Sunday.
Cranston won the award for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his role in “Network,” a stage adaption of the legendary 1976 film of the same name. The “Breaking Bad” actor took on the part of newsman Howard Beal in a show that seamlessly adapts the film’s message on sensationalized television and populist rage for a contemporary audience.
When Cranston took the stage on Sunday to accept his award, he offered his commentary on today’s politics.
“Wow, finally a straight old white man gets a break!” Cranston joked to the audience.
After thanking his colleagues and those who supported him, Cranston delivered a pointed message on the importance of journalism:
“Howard Beale is a fictitious TV newsman who found his way in the line of fire because of his pursuit of the truth. And I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the world, both in the press, and the print media, and also broadcast media, who actually are in the line of fire with their pursuit of the truth.”
“The media is not the enemy of the people,” he added. “Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”
Watch the video below, via CBS:
Cranston made no direct reference to Trump in his remarks, but the use of Trump’s trademark “enemy of the people” jab made the message clear.
In a 2018 interview with IndieWire, Cranston acknowledged that the character of Howard Beale embodies certain Trumpian characteristics throughout “Network.”
“He has a message, he has a soapbox in order to deliver it. He is able to convince a large swath of people that he has a message that is important to them, and to follow him,” the actor explained. “He then says things that are not true, that are filled with xenophobia and prejudice of some level or another.”
Though Beale’s ultimate message differs from Trump’s, Cranston explained how the audience notices the show’s connections to our current moment.
“It strikes a resonance with today’s audience because of what we’re living in,” he said.