At the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, activist Joaquin Phoenix delivered an impassioned plea during his Best Actor acceptance speech, imploring the audience to consider the role humanity has had in the world’s injustices, including the ongoing suffering of animals on factory farms.
Said Phoenix, “I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric worldview and we believe that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
Phoenix’s historic speech in defense of animals was given in response to the Oscar he received for his performance in the critically acclaimed movie Joker. The speech also touched on the ongoing fight for the liberty of all living things, ”I think that, whether we talk about gender inequality or racism or the rights of homosexuals or the rights of indigenous people or the rights of animals, we are talking about the fight against injustice. We are talking about the fight against the belief that a nation, a people, a race, a gender, a species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity,” Phoenix said.
He added, “I think the greatest gift that (film has) given me, and many of us in this room, is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless.”
This call for action followed Phoenix’s demonstration with Animal Equality in the United Kingdom, as he joined the animal protection nonprofit in hanging a banner on London’s Tower Bridge before the BAFTAs, which read “Factory Farming is Destroying Our Planet. Go Vegan.” youtu.be/HXoBfoA9CnE
At the time, Phoenix said, “I think we have a personal responsibility to take action right now and one way that we can mitigate climate change is by adjusting our consumption and by going plant-based. And so I feel sometimes like it’s not being talked about enough. So I’m just encouraging people to learn more about eating plant-based and to make a difference to make whatever personal impact they can on the climate emergency.”
Phoenix’s advocacy on behalf of animals and the planet is well-documented. In 2019, he produced a documentary called Animal People, which tells the story of six advocates determined to expose the world’s largest animal-testing lab. He also recently starred in a short film focusing on our current climate crisis, called Guardians of Life.
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