EXCLUSIVE: PBN Interview With Vegan Oscar-Winner Joaquin Phoenix

The award-winning actor discusses a range of topics
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Joaquin Phoenix spoke to Plant Based News (Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals)

Joaquin Phoenix spoke to Plant Based News (Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals)

Watch Plant Based News' exclusive interview with Joaquin Phoenix.

The vegan actor, who just scooped the Best Actor statue for his highly acclaimed performance in Joker, discusses a range of topics - from the environment to how he deals with pushback for his activism.

The interview took place during an Earthlings Experience action in central London. During the action, activists wearing masks hold a screen playing footage from the documentary Earthlings. Other activists perform outreach, engaging in a respectful dialogue with passersby, and handing out flyers with resources and information.

'Amplify the voices of activists'

During the interview, PBN's Klaus Mitchell noted that Phoenix has been more publicly active when it comes to animal advocacy recently, and asked what has prompted the change. The actor said that he - and his activism - has become more visible in recent times, but also that 'things are really dire right now'.

"I think that when it's your time to step up, it comes to you. I've always had a hard time imposing my personal beliefs on others, I've never wanted to do that...but things are really dire right now and the evidence is overwhelming that there is an incontrovertible link between the meat and dairy industry and climate change," Phoenix told Plant Based News.

"I think it's something that people are waking up to, they realize that they cannot be protectors of the environment and not be vegan. It feels right and there is an opportunity, I have the opportunity to amplify the voice of the activists that are out here every day, or weekly, doing their work.

"And so I'm in a very unique position to be able to talk about their great work and to amplify their message. And so I think we just find the way that we can play our parts."

Vegan awards

Phoenix was reportedly a key player when it comes to promoting a plant-based message this awards season. He has been credited for inspiring a slew of award ceremonies - including the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Award - to serve all-vegan menus.

Unnamed sources reportedly told Variety magazine that 'Phoenix suggested the idea to the Globes, and played a key role in persuading them to make the switch'.

The actor, who has picked up multiple accolades this season - including a SAG Award and Golden Globe on top of his Oscar - used his speeches to highlight social injustices, discussing topics like racism at the BAFTA awards, and the dairy industry at the Oscars.

'Fight against injustice'

Speaking while accepting his Academy Award, he said: "I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.

"We're talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity.I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, 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.

"We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment."

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