Credit: Kerry Hayes

The cast of Spotlight used their SAG Awards win as a platform to talk about injustice, calling attention to the “powerless” and “disenfranchised” — including those affected by the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan — and demanding more transparency from the Catholic Church.

Spotlight, about the Boston Globe‘s investigative journalists who helped expose a sex-abuse cover-up within the Catholic Church, won the award for ensemble cast in a motion picture Saturday evening in Los Angeles. “This movie allows them to be seen in a world that has been blind to them,” Ruffalo said of the abuse victims while accepting the award on behalf of the cast.

Backstage, costar John Slattery said he hoped Spotlight helps encourage sex-abuse survivors to come forward. “It’s very important to us to be a part of a story like this that gives voice to the survivors,” he said. “And you hope that it gives voice to further survivors to stand up, the strength in numbers to be able to stand up and say, ‘This happened to me as well.'”

Slattery and Ruffalo both called for more transparency, saying the church should publish a list of priests known to have committed criminal acts.

“Many of the archdioceses that have had molestations happening in them still haven’t released the names of the priests who are known to be child molesters and rapists,” Ruffalo said, also calling for the arrest of Cardinal Bernard Law, who helped shield Boston priests accused of molestation. “It’d be nice to see Cardinal Law actually in a prison cell instead of a palace in the Vatican.”

Ruffalo added, “I think ultimately what these people want is their stories to be able to be told in the broad light of day, the bright, beautiful light of day, and how you do that is creating transparency, and the church is not known for being transparent, so that’s a good place to start.”

Keaton spoke about journalism’s role in exposing injustice, including in the current lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. “I’m pretty sure Flint, Michigan doesn’t have an investigative team in the local paper,” Keaton said, acknowleding that newspapers are suffering financially. “Had there been one, I would argue, and I think it’s a strong argument, that they may have been ahead of the Flint, Michigan situation. But we could talk on and on and on. It always happens in poor neighborhoods which are generally black or Hispanic or people of color, and as long as there’s no one to represent, not just those but the disenfranchised everywhere, or people who are fighting against unfair things.”

Keaton also praised the real-life Boston Globe journalists at the center of the film and called for a new generation of investigative reporters.

“They’re brave and they’re real journalists, not sensationalist journalists,” Keaton said. “They were dogged, and that kind of journalism is disappearing, and I’m going to keep pounding that. I’m talking about real journalism, not the sensational stuff you see on the Internet. I’m talking about people who really do hard work. I really would encourage anybody under 50 or 40, because frankly I don’t see it from my generation, but I see young people possibly rising to the occasion hopefully.”

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