Joaquin Phoenix, a staunch vegan and animal rights activist, says he will not force his beliefs upon his son.
The "Joker" star explained to The Sunday Times that although he hoped his son, River, who he welcomed with his partner Rooney Mara in September, would adopt his plant-based lifestyle, it was ultimately his choice to make.
"I’m not going to impose my belief on my child," he explained. "I don’t think that’s right."
That being said, Phoenix added that he did intend to "educate (River) about the reality" of the meat and dairy industry.
"I’m not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald’s have a Happy Meal because there’s nothing (expletive) happy about that meal," he continued. "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."
Phoenix has been vegan since he was three years old, according to LIVEKINDLY. In an interview cited by the outlet, he explained the reasons why he chose to follow the lifestyle.
"At that age, me and my siblings witnessed fish being killed in a really violent and aggressive way," he said. "It was just absolutely obvious that that was something we didn’t want to participate in. I don’t want to cause pain to another living, empathetic creature. I don’t want to force [an animal] to be indoors and fattened up just to be slaughtered. It is absurd and barbaric."
For years, Phoenix has been vocal about animal rights and caused a sensation in 2020 when, after winning an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in "Joker," used his acceptance speech to speak out against humanity’s attitude to animals.
"I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. 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.
Speaking with The Sunday Times about the viral speech, the actor admitted he did not "want to get up anywhere and do anything" when he was called up to receive his award.
"I was not excited about the opportunity. It’s just not who I am. I was full of fear," Phoenix said. "I was in that situation and there was a part of me that just wanted to say, ‘Thanks so much, great, goodnight.' But I felt like I had to… If I’m up here, I can’t just thank my mum."
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