Joaquin Phoenix is one of those celebrities who walks the talk. He is out there, doing something; and for years, I have read about him being active and speaking up for animals, even participating in protests against climate change as well. He has already done so much for animals and the vegan movement, it is impressive. If there is one person who belongs in this Vegan Heroes series, it is most definitely Joaquin Phoenix.
First, Back to the Beginning
To the very beginning … We are jumping a long way back in time when Joaquin was just three years old. Yep, he decided to be vegan when he was three, and the reason was a fishing trip.
“I’ve been vegan since I was three years old. And at that age, me and my siblings witnessed fish being killed in a really violent and aggressive way,” Phoenix says. “It was just absolutely obvious that that was something we didn’t want to participate in. I don’t want to cause pain to another living, empathetic creature.”
To stun the fish, they were violently smashed against the side of the boat, which horrified him.
“I just thought it was such a gross abuse of power in a way,” he explained. “We said to our parents, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ I remember my mom’s face, I remember her crying. She didn’t know how to answer. It became very obvious we weren’t going to eat meat anymore.”
It wasn’t just him who had this reaction, all of his siblings were shocked by the brutality. Soon after they also ditched dairy and the whole family became vegan.
Achievements in the Film Industry
I loved Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, 8 mm, and Walk the Line, but also in his other movies. He always gives a brilliant performance. Even in Gladiator where he played the evil Commodus, I thought he was mesmerizing.
His list of movies is long and impressive and each and every one is amazing. He knows how to pick his films 🙂
- Hotel Rwanda
- The Immigrants
- To Die For
- We Own the Night
- What the Health
- Walk the Line
- The Master
- You Were Never Really Here
- Mary Magdalene
- The Village,
- Dr. Strange
- Two Lovers
- Brother Bear
- Inherent Vice
- I’m Still Here
- Irrational Man
- And many more, the list is long …
He has won several awards and has been nominated for many. Critic’s Choice, Grammy’s, Golden Globe, Cannes Festival, and the highly acclaimed Oscars. In 2020, he won an Oscar for “The Joker”, a movie I still have to see.
When and Why did Joaquin Phoenix Become Vegan?
As I mentioned before, he was only three. Check out this short video in which Joaquin explains his reasons for being vegan.
Oh man, where do I start? He has done so much already and he doesn’t stop. A better question would be, what hasn’t he done yet for animal rights?
When his movies are mentioned, he says that the one he is asked about the most is Earthlings, a documentary about man’s exploitation of animals for food, pets, clothing, laboratories, cosmetics, etc. Phoenix narrated this heartbreaking documentary and Moby provided the soundtrack.
Want to watch a good horror movie? Watch Earthlings. Only … the horror is real …
He uses his stardom to spread the message about veganism and he often urges people to go vegan. He has participated in many animal rights protests and vigils in the US as well as the UK. He speaks out against animal cruelty and he supports PETA.
In this video below Joaquin and his wife Rooney Mara (who is also a vegan activist) march for Animal Rights Day, leading an animal funeral procession in West Hollywood, commemorating the trillions of animals that are killed every year for food, science, fashion, and entertainment.
After winning a well-deserved Oscar for his outstanding performance in the Joker, he headed to a slaughterhouse and rescued a cow and her calf and helped bring them to Farm Sanctuary, which is a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.
In the video below you can see his memorable speech that touched everyone worldwide, at least, I’d like to believe that, because it is a beautiful, amazing speech.
Joaquin also made The Golden Globes go vegan. He proposed the idea to Hollywood Foreign Press Association that runs The Golden Globes, and he convinced them to present an all-vegan menu at the ceremony’s dinner. So, instead of the usual fish or steak, guests were now served chilled golden beet soup, oyster mushroom scallops with mushroom risotto, and for dessert a mouthwatering chocolate opera dome.
Additionally, soon after the success of The Golden Globes dinner he persuaded a pre-Oscar’s bash in Hollywood to also serve plant-based food. Critic’s Choice, SAG Awards, WME, and the Academy followed the example and offered only vegan food for the Oscar’s. It looks like Joaquin is making Hollywood vegan.
Although he is vegan for the animals, he argues that meat farming is a main cause of climate change because of greenhouse gases, and he believes that Hollywood should set an example.
Having been vegan for over 40 years, Joaquin Phoenix has always set an example for his followers. He makes time to help protests organized by vegan groups. He is even known to have gone down into the Toronto subway to support a vegan billboard campaign.
He works tirelessly to spread the message of compassion for all and end speciesism (Speciesism is the belief of human superiority which leads to exploitation of animals; it’s a prejudice in the interest of our own species against members of other species).
Needless to say that I admire him greatly, not only as an actor but most importantly as a vegan activist. He is someone who uses his fame to shed light on the suffering of others and make a change in the world, someone who uses his fame for good.
He is a voice for the voiceless, for the animals whose cries often go unheard. Joaquin Phoenix is a true vegan hero.