Actor Joaquin Phoenix says that while he hopes his son becomes vegan, he isn’t going to “force” that lifestyle onto his child, adding that he will instead “educate him about reality,” repeatedly instructing him that the meat he eats comes from slaughtered animals.
“Well, certainly I would hope that [he is vegan], but I’m not going to impose my belief on my child,” Phoenix told Britain’s Sunday Times. “I’m going to educate him about the reality. I’m not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald’s have a Happy Meal because there’s nothing fucking happy about that meal.”
“And I’m not going to tell him that it’s OK to read books about all the wonderful little farm animals, and they say ‘oink oink oink’ and ‘moo moo moo,’ and not tell him that that’s what a hamburger is,” he added.
“So I’m not going to perpetuate the lie, but I’m also not going to force him to be vegan. I’ll support him. That’s my plan,” the Joker star affirmed.
Phoenix and his fiancé actress Rooney Mara welcomed back their first child, River, into the world in September. Their son is named after Phoenix’s late brother, who died of a drug overdose in 1993 at the age of 23.
“My brother, River, and my sister Rain said, ‘If we’re not going to eat this then we shouldn’t take their milk, or wear leather.’ That was 43 years ago,” said Phoenix, recalling a memory he and his siblings had as children, in which they saw fish being stunned against the side of the boat.
“It was such a shocking, visceral experience,” the actor said. “As a child, your parents just say, ‘It’s fish,’ and you don’t know the difference between fish or broccoli.”
“And to suddenly realize that this thing that we’ve eaten once used to be full of life and we can see it struggling for its life,” Phoenix added, with his voice trembling.
Phoenix became a vegetarian at the age of three, but he and his siblings reportedly progressed from vegetarian to full-on vegan a few months after the fish-stunning incident.
As child actors, River and Joaquin Phoenix missed out on “70 percent” of opportunities because they refused to appear in advertisements for companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, due to their beliefs.
Last year, Phoenix delivered a wild political rant at the Oscars, in which he complained about how society feels “entitled to artificially inseminate a cow,” and then “steal her baby” after she gives birth.
“And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal,” Phoenix lamented.
Later, the actor was filmed rescuing a cow and her calf from a Los Angeles slaughterhouse less than 48 hours after picking up his first Oscar for his role in Joker.