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Joaquin Phoenix blasted the dairy industry in his Oscar acceptance speech last night.

The vegan advocate scooped the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in acclaimed movie Joker.

In his speech, Phoenix said the ‘greatest gift’ he – and others in the entertainment industry – have been given is the ‘opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless’.

‘Fight against injustice’

“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,” Phoenix said.

“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.”

‘Grateful’

The actor also spoke out about cancel culture – saying humans are at their best when they support each other.

“I have been a scoundrel all my life, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other,” he said.

“Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.”

Phoenix ended his speech with an emotional tribute to his brother Rive, who died in 1993. He said: “When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said ‘run to the rescue with love and peace will follow’.”

Doesn’t pay attention

Throughout the awards season, Phoenix has been using his platform to highlight issues of injustices – primarily against animals, despite the threat of pushback. But in an exclusive interview with Plant Based News, the actor said he ‘doesn’t pay attention to any pushback’ he may get as a result of his advocacy.

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.

Although criticism is often leveled at activists, the Joker star does not let that affect him. “I don’t know about any kind of pushback – because I don’t pay attention to that,” he said.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.