Just hours before receiving the first Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto Film Festival, three-time Oscar-nominated actor and lifelong vegan Joaquin Phoenix led a protest against animal cruelty at the St George Subway Transit Station.
Dressed all in black and sporting canvas Converse high-tops, the star of the forthcoming “Joker” film said he lent his support to the BeFairBeVegan team behind the subway campaign.
The event toured inside the poster-plastered popular train station was led by Phoenix and Anita Krajnc of the vegan advocacy group Toronto Pig Save.
“He’s so busy, the only window he had was 3 to 5 p.m. today and he has this big award, yet he took time out to come see BeFairBeVegan Toronto because it’s so close to his heart,” Krajnc told Toronto’s local City News.
Phoenix agreed with Krajnc that these types of ads should be in cities “everywhere” including Los Angeles where he lives.
A vegan since age 3, Phoenix frequently lends his voice to animal rights causes. He and fiancé, fellow vegan actor Rooney Mara, led this year’s National Animal Rights Day protest in Los Angeles in May. Both Phoenix and Mara narrated the highly acclaimed 2019 documentary “Dominion” about the exploitation of animals in Australia’s various industries. He also narrated 2005’s documentary “Earthlings,” hailed as the definitive animal rights movie. Directed by filmmaker Shaun Monson, “Earthlings” details animal exploitation around the world.
The BeFairBeVegan campaign first launched in New York City in 2016.
“In addressing our speciesist attitudes toward other animals, BeFairBeVegan encourages us to consider that our core similarities are far deeper than our surface differences. Now, more than ever, the world needs to hear this message,” the campaign noted.
The Toronto campaign will fill the city over the next eight weeks and includes a broad range of media. City goers will see Flexity streetcar wrap, 20 bus murals, and 10 transit shelter posters.
Tribute Actor Award
Phoenix left the St. George station for the Toronto Film Festival, where, alongside screen legend Meryl Streep, he was awarded the event’s first Tribute Actor Award.
“Displaying both raw instinct and consummate technical skill, Joaquin Phoenix is the complete actor, and one of the finest in contemporary cinema,” TIFF co-head Cameron Bailey said of the actor in a press statement. “Over three decades, he has brought a piercing truth to each groundbreaking role. TIFF is thrilled to be celebrating an artist of his calibre with this inaugural award. We can’t wait for Festival audiences to experience his electric turn in ‘Joker’.”