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Joaquin Phoenix Uses ‘Joker’ Oscar Win to Champion Veganism

Plus, the FBI should look into the Hamburglar, and more news to start your day

Joaquin Phoenix in a tuxedo Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food and Travel Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Phoenix’s impassioned speech about animal rights got mixed reactions

In the most tWisTeD win at the Oscars last night, Joaquin Phoneix won for Best Actor for Joker, a movie about a sad clown. He began his acceptance speech speaking on the many injustices in the world, be they “gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights.”

Phoenix, who’s been a vegan since he was a child and has campaigned for PETA, spoke of how “we feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal,” and that humans should create change beneficial to “all sentient beings.” He’s used his platform to advocate for vegan causes before, whether it’s pushing the Golden Globes to serve a vegan menu, or attending a “pig vigil” in LA. PETA tweeted support of his message, and Kelsey Piper at Vox wrote that his speech “elevated the moral worth of animals.”

While Phoenix has used other speeches this awards season to call out social injustices, some people expressed frustration at language that equates drinking diary with injustices like racism or transphobia. PETA has been criticized in the past for co-opting the language of social justice in its work, and for doing things like comparing the Holocaust to factory farming. Vice said that, while his heart was in the right place, more than anything the speech was “unhinged.” That’s Arthur for you.

And in other news...

  • How much time should the Hamburglar serve for repeated theft? [Mel Magazine]
  • Someone on Reddit wants to know if they’re an asshole for telling his step mom that American bacon is inferior to English bacon. [Reddit]
  • Motorworks Brewing put photos of dogs on beer cans in hopes they would be adopted, but one can helped reunite a dog with her long-lost family. [CNN]
  • Kind, of the nut bar varietal, is expanding into frozen desserts and more kinds of snacks. [Fast Company]
  • The Pacific Northwest might be the next big maple syrup region. [Modern Farmer]
  • Chef Massimo Bottura had a lot of fun taking selfies at the Oscars afterparties. [Instagram]