The dairy industry is likely to suffer some consequences from Joaquin Phoenix’s famous Oscar speech, a farming expert has admitted.
Phoenix, who scooped the statuette for Best Actor for his role in Joker, used his acceptance speech to highlight suffering.
Among the issues he discussed was dairy farming – which has been described as a ‘verbal assault’ by the farming community.
‘The 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 in the speech.
“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.”
The speech prompted anger from farmers on Twitter. It also became the topic of an opinion piece titled Opinion: Don’t let Hollywood big mouths get you down published by agricultural outlet Farmers Weekly.
In the piece, executive editor Philip Clarke wrote: “Farming has come under verbal attack again – this time from Hollywood film star Joaquin Phoenix, who used his best actor award acceptance speech at this week’s Oscars to slag off the dairy sector.
“A well-known vegan, he spoke of the ‘unmistakable cries of anguish’ as baby calves are ‘stolen’ from their mothers after giving birth, leaving them to produce milk to ‘put in our coffee and our cereal’. The industry has faced sustained and unjustified criticism for months and this latest attack, in front of an audience of millions, is likely to have taken a further toll.”
The actor is unlikely to see – or pay any attention – to this type of criticism. in an exclusive interview with Plant Based News, Phoenix 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.