Reading Time: 2 minutes Lena Dunham credits Joaquin Phoenix with inspiring her to go vegan (Photos: David Shankbone/Harald Krichel)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Lena Dunham has credited Joaquin Phoenix with inspiring her to go vegan.

The writer, director, producer, and actor – perhaps best known as the creator of HBO show Girls – revealed the news on Twitter.

Joaquin Phoenix

Dunham shared a video of Phoenix’s now-famous Oscar acceptance speech, in which he talked about the oppression of people and animals – particularly dairy cows.

Alongside the video, she wrote: “Welp, it finally happened- I do believe Joaquin Phoenix made me vegan.”


Dunham’s tweet generated hundreds of responses – from individuals as well as organizations including PETA and Mercy for Animals (MFA).

PETA said: “Amazing. It’s so easy to choose kindness! We’re here to help you live your best.”

MFA shared an online vegan guide with Dunham and wrote: “This is amazing news. Thank you so much for your compassion! This guide has easy meal ideas and plant-based tips if you need any extra help.”


Phoenix’s speech, which he made while picking up the Best Actor statuette for his performance in Joker, has made headlines around the world, provoking huge amounts of support, as well as vitriol.

While vegans hailed Phoenix for using his huge platform to highlight the horrors of the dairy industry, some commentators wrote opinion pieces castigating the star for speaking out.

An article in the New York Post branded Phoenix a ‘disgrace’ and ‘a street bum’ for using his clout to try and help animals.

Oscar speech

During the speech, the Joker star 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.”

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Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for 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. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.