Phoenix won the best actor award for his role in “Joker”
By Diego Flammini
The dairy industry was put into the spotlight during Hollywood’s biggest night.
Upon receiving the best actor Oscar on Sunday for his performance playing Arthur Fleck and his transformation into the lead character role in “Joker,” Joaquin Phoenix used part of his acceptance speech to express his concerns with the dairy industry.
“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,” he said. “Then, we take her milk, that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal …”
Members of the ag industry responded to Phoenix’s comments.
His view of the dairy industry is an example of the gap between urban and rural communities, said Dwayne Faber, a dairy farmer from Skagit County in Washington State.
“It shows the disconnect between Hollywood and agriculture,” he told Farms.com. “As a dairy farmer, (my) job is to take care of every aspect of the dairy cow and that includes calving and breeding. It’s just a natural function of taking care of any animals.”
Farmers and industry reps need to continue defending agriculture because actors have high-profile platforms to share information even if it’s incorrect, Faber said.
“There’s no doubt that when someone has the followers that (Hollywood) does, they can be spreading mistruths and half-truths about the industry that you work in.”
An organization that represents American dairy farmers also responded to Phoenix’s comments.
“If he studied the commitment of dairy farmers to animal welfare and had a fuller understanding of the contribution of dairy products to a nutritious diet, especially for children, he might have a different perception of the value that dairy contributes to global health and the importance of the dairy sector to global livelihood,” Alan Bjerga, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, told FOX Business on Monday.
The dairy portion of Phoenix's speech begins at 1:37 of the video.