Congressman Keller calls Phoenix's anti-dairy Oscar acceptance speech 'insensitive'

February 11, 2020
In The News

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) slammed Hollywood Actor Joaquin Phoenix for his insensitive remarks about the dairy industry in his acceptance speech for winning Best Actor for his role in Joker.

During his speech at last night’s Academy Awards, Phoenix blamed an “ego-centric world view” for a culture where one species can “exploit another with impunity.”

“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth, we steal her baby,” Phoenix said. “Even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”

In response, Congressman Keller said, “Joaquin Phoenix winning Best Actor for playing the Joker fits him to a T, because his comments would have been laughable were they not so offensive. Phoenix’s rambling remarks about America’s dairy industry prove how out-of-touch he is with the hardworking Americans who grow our food and create healthy communities."

"When I travel Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District and meet with farmers, I am always impressed with their work-ethic, thoughtfulness, and desire to help others despite facing generational industrial hardships and a libelous onslaught from anti-dairy activists," continued Keller. "The callousness he showed in his speech last night proves he needs to get out of his Hollywood bubble to see how real Americans make a living."

Phoenix's remarks were in context of a larger theme of equality, beyond only animal rights--a cause he has championed in the past.

Phoenix said, "I think at times we feel, or were 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 or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity."

Keller attributed Phoenix’s "Hollywood-elite world view" for the lack of awareness to the sacrifice and struggles of America’s dairy farmers.