Actor Joaquin Phoenix arrested at climate change protest

Joaquin Phoenix shows his solidarity with Toronto’s Be Fair Be Vegan Campaign, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Media
Joaquin Phoenix shows his solidarity with Toronto’s Be Fair Be Vegan Campaign, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Media

“Sometimes, we wonder what we can do in this fight against climate change, and there is something that you can do today and tomorrow, by making a choice about what you consume,” Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix said during Jane Fonda’s climate protest on Friday in Washington.

Shortly after his speech, he was arrested, along with fellow actor Martin Sheen. He added: “There are things I can’t avoid. I flew a plane here today, or last night rather, but one thing I can do is change my eating habits.”

The long-time vegan was stressing the impact of our dietary habits and how we can change the world for the better with a simple change – starting from what we put on our plates.


A few days before that he was arrested, he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his outstanding performance as Arthur Fleck, Batman’s nemesis, in the movie Joker. It was the first year the Golden Globes offered a completely vegan menu.

Phoenix complemented the organization in his acceptance speech: “First I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change. It is a very bold move making tonight plant-based, and it really sends a powerful message.”

He continued: “It’s great to vote, but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives.”

Long-time animal rights activist
Joaquin has been a spokesperson for animal rights for a long time. He and his family went vegan when he was only three years old: “Me and my siblings witnessed fish being killed in a really violent and aggressive way. It was just absolutely obvious that it was something that we didn’t want to participate in, and we didn’t want to support.”

He’s appeared in advertisements that promote veganism, ban fur, leather, wool use and condemn the mistreatment and abuse of animals.

Recently, he was on a poster for a PETA campaign against speciesism that read ‘We are all animals’. He’s on the image with a chicken positioned in a way that their eyes appear to align. This poster was placed on a billboard in New York City, in Times Square, and no doubt made a strong impression on people that walk by every day – hundreds of thousands.


Last year, while he was in Toronto to promote Joker, he went to the subway to support a Be Fair Be Vegan campaign by posing in front of posters and signs addressing animal abuse. He often can be found attending vigils at slaughterhouses in Los Angeles, giving pigs water, with his fiancè Rooney Mara, also a vegan activist.

He narrated Earthlings, a documentary about the way animals are seen and used as commodities for food, clothing, entertainment, scientific research.

Phoenix also produced The Animal People, a documentary released last December, about activists who were marked as terrorists by the United States government.


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