Vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix has revealed he was ‘full of fear’ when he made his lengthy pro-animal rights speech after winning best actor Oscar for Joker at the 2020 Academy Awards. The Hollywood actor, 46, said he ‘wasn’t excited’ about the prosp-ect of giving an acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Arthur Fleck in the movie, Joker.
Phoenix, who is noto*ious for his environmental activism and is an outsp*ken advocate for vega-nism, used his speech time to make an im*assio*ed plea for animal rights, which sho*ked audiences worldwide.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Phoenix, who is now executive-producing Gunda, a bla*k and white documentary about a sow and her pi!lets, said speaking publicly made him ‘full of f**r.’
‘I did not want to get up anywhere and do anything. I was not excited about the opportunity,’ he said, refle-cting on the moment.
‘It’s just not who I am. I was full of fe**r,’ he added, going on to say he felt like he had to use his speech to bring up the cause close to his heart. If I’m up here, I can’t just thank my mum.’
The A-list actor also went on to say that while he had turned to vega!ism from a young age, he wouldn’t for*e the diet on his children.
Phoenix explained that while he hoped his son River, named after his late brother who trag-ically d*** of an overdose aged 23, would be vegan, he wouldn’t pre-ss-ure his beliefs onto his son – and would educate him on the reality of the food industry.
‘I’m not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald’s have a Happy Meal because there’s nothing f****** happy about that meal,’ he said.
Phoenix, who was raised as a vegetarian since aged three, said he and his si!lings decided to go vegan after seeing the brutal way in which fish were treated during a cargo ship trip from Miami to Venezuela.
Speaking to Collinder in 2018, the actor recalled the moment: ‘They were catc!ing fish, and I guess to stun them they were throwing them ag-ainst the side of the boat,’ he said.
‘I just had a profound stro*g reaction. It felt like a real injustice. It wasn’t just me, it was my si!lings, all of my si!lings, except for the youngest, Summer, she wasn’t born.
‘I think it made me dis*rust*ul, and a***, and frightened of humans, hum-anity. I just thought it was such a gross a*use of power in a way. I think that during that moment we knew that we were not going to eat meat anymore,’ he added.
In the speech, which was broadcast during the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020, Phoenix said: ‘I think we’ve become very dis-conn-ected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an eg-ocent!ic world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe.
‘We go into the natural world and we pl**der it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmis!ake-able. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal,’ he added.
His declarations drew c!itic*sm from the British National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president, Minette Batters, who said celebrity campaigners for veganism did ‘enormous da-m-age’ to the UK’s m*at producers and their wellbeing.
She said farmers feared a loss of livelihood and family holdings due to Phoenix’s speech.
‘Celebrities have to be careful because there are real-life consequences for others … Joaquin Phoenix, he’s had a really challenging life, and you really feel for him and a lot of the things he was saying, but he has to remember there are people at the end of this, there are small family farms and they get h*** too,’ Batters said.