Hollywood cheered actor Joaquin Phoenix after he finished up his acceptance speech for the Best Actor thanks to his iconic role in Joker.
Not everyone was pleased, however.
While the average dairy farmer likely didn’t watch the Oscars, when they learned of the comments they weren’t exactly thrilled. Take Tom Oberhaus, for example. He was interviewed by local Wisconsin news station WISN-TV and, even though he had no idea who Phoenix was, didn’t let his opportunity in front of the camera go to waste.
“We feel we have really important jobs in the world,” Oberhaus said. “We help feed the world. It’s kind of important that people have food to eat. And what do you do, Mr. Phoenix? Oh yeah, you entertain people. Ok.”
After the initial frustrated reaction, Oberhaus seemed to dial it back a bit and offered an olive branch to the star actor.
“We just wave it off and go hey ding-dong you don’t have any idea what’s going on here at the farm. I mean, I’d love it if he’d come out here for a couple hours – that would be awesome. That’s an invite, Mr. Phoenix. C’mon out. See what life is like on the farm.”
Now that would be something to see. It’d actually be great if Phoenix did take Oberhaus up on the offer, as these sorts of unlikely meetings are the type of little thing that brings the country together. Neither party may change their opinions about the other’s industry — Oberhaus may continue viewing entertainment as a valueless and vapid aspect of culture while Phoenix may still believe dairy farmers are a blight on society,
Phoenix’s comments during his speech included a riff that seemingly pegged dairy farmers as evil baby cow stealing vampires, the villain responsible for feeding America’s insatiable appetite for milk. “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. And we take her milk intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal,” he said.
The National Milk Producers Federation released a statement earlier this week saying they were disappointed that the dairy farm industry was “attacked from a platform at the Oscars.”
They added, “The hard work of dairy farmers will go on long after everyone has forgotten who won Best Actor in 2020.”
Hopefully, we’ll see the two sides figure out a way to bridge the gap because clearly there are some major misconceptions on both sides of the aisle. Of course, God calls people to treat animals humanely. But Phoenix seems to be crusading against the use of any animal milk, describing that in and of itself as animal cruelty.
How do we determine what constitutes humane treatment? Where do we draw the line? This is where conversations between real people on both sides should be had in order to understand one another, and the issue, better.
Time will tell, but we’ll certainly follow up if Phoenix does indeed head out to the dairy farm for a visit.