While many of those within the acting industry might spend their hours before the prestigious BAFTA ceremony resting up and preparing for the night ahead, it seems that wasn’t the case for Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix.
Ahead of his appearance at the BAFTA awards, the actor-turned-animal rights activist unveiled a banner on London’s Tower Bridge making a plea for people to ditch animal products and go plant-based.
Standing in front of crowds, the actor – who recently won a Golden Globe for his role as Joker – joined activists to protest in central London.
He stood holding a placard showing hens in cages, before he dropped a 390-square foot banner from Tower Bridge, which declared: “Factory farming destroys our planet. Go vegan.”
The actor has been vegan since he was three years old, and has often spoken out in favour of veganism and rights for animals and the environment.
The 45-year-old also responded to recent criticism that people in the entertainment industry should not preach about climate change, due to their habits of taking frequent flights and having a high carbon footprint as a result.
This criticism been noted by Hollywood, and efforts have been made to be more sustainable including the BAFTAs asking all guests to attend wearing an outfit they already own rather than something new.
Speaking in an interview after the protests, the actor said: “We are all hypocrites in some ways. We all struggle with what the right thing to do is and we make mistakes.
“The industry does consume a lot of power and a lot of resources so the way to mitigate that for me is to maintain a vegan lifestyle.”
He added: “I think that is part of our appeal to the award ceremonies because there are so many people flying in to the awards and the cars they use – the one thing they can do is to make the meal plant-based.
“I think we just have to try and find that balance. Nobody is perfect but we are all trying to figure it out.”
Collecting his Best Actor BAFTA this evening, Phoenix also took a moment to discuss ‘systemic racism’ and the lack of diversity in Hollywood and this year’s awards season.
“I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege,” he said.
“I think we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here.
“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation. I’m part of the problem.”