Keller slams Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar speech comments on dairy industry

February 11, 2020
In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Fred Keller (R) is slamming Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar speech from Sunday night, saying the actor is degrading one of the top industries in Central and Northern Pennsylvania.

During his acceptance speech Sunday night, Phoenix said humans use and exploit other species – such as cows – for our own benefit. He called it an “egocentric” world view. Here is part of that speech.

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

Keller is speaking out to defend the dairy industry and its workers, he said.

Dairy farming provides $1.8 billion in federal revenue every year in Keller’s district alone, Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Milk and other dairy products are also among the government-approved options for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC, a health care and nutrition assistance program available to low-income families, offers select foods and beverages – including milk – to children under the age of five; pregnant women; and women who are breastfeeding.

“You know how hard they work and the nutritious food they produce,” Keller said. “I think (Phoenix) is out of touch with America and the people that go to see his movies.”

In all, more than 10,000 farms reside in PA-12, Keller said.