Joker might not be everyone’s favorite Oscar contender, but one could never accuse Joaquin Phoenix of failing to channel his time in the spotlight for a cause that’s important to him. A few weeks ago, he used his Golden Globes-winning momentum to springboard onto Capitol Hill, where he was promptly arrested near some famous steps after marching next to Jane Fonda during a climate change protest. He did this a few days after shambolically praising the HFPA for offering vegan cuisine at their fancy ceremony and asking his fellow actors to stop taking private jets to film festivals. In his latest followup, Phoenix left the Screen Actors Guild Awards after-party (after winning Outstanding Lead Actor) to comfort pigs at a slaughterhouse vigil. While on the scene, he further advocated for mass adoption of a vegan diet to ease environmental woes.
Yes, after Phoenix praised Heath Ledger during his speech, he peaced out of the venue to attend a vigil outside a processing plant called Farmer John, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In doing so, he (while still formally attired) joined fellow activists in comforting pigs within trucks that were entering the facility. During a Facebook Live video with activist Jane Velez-Mitchell’s (as part of her Jane Unchained platform), Phoenix spoke to the camera to discuss why he needed to attend. In the process, he declared, “[T]he evidence is overwhelming that there’s a connection between the meat-and-dairy industry and climate change.” You can watch the video here (Phoenix appears around the 18:00 mark), and here’s more of what he said:
“Most people don’t really know of the torture and murder in the meat and dairy industry. I’ve seen it for what it is, so I have to be here. We have moral obligations to talk about it and expose it for what it really is. We are so indoctrinated with these happy images of animals on farms, on the covers of meat containers, at restaurants, and it’s a lie. I think people need to know the truth, and we have an obligation to do that.”
Previously during the Capitol Hill climate change protest, Phoenix stated that he “struggle[s] so much with what I can do [to fight climate change] at times …. one thing that I can do is change my eating habits.” Well, he’s certainly drawing attention to his cause and not relenting even during the thick of awards season. And as crude as it sounds to point this out, Phoenix’s future co-stars will never have to worry about receiving live rats as a “gift” following what will probably be his Joker Best Actor Oscar win. That ceremony goes down on February 9, by the way, and we’ll be watching.