Rep. Fred Keller trashed actor Joaquin Phoenix for his “detestable” remarks about the dairy industry during his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.
Keller, a Pennsylvania Republican, defended his state’s agriculture workers after Phoenix criticized those who “feel entitled” to cow’s milk. The congressman released a statement saying, “Joaquin Phoenix winning Best Actor for playing the Joker fits him to a T because his comments would have been laughable were they not so offensive.”
“Phoenix’s rambling remarks about America’s dairy industry prove how out-of-touch he is with the hardworking Americans who grow our food and create healthy communities,” Keller said. “Phoenix’s Hollywood-elite world view has clearly blinded him to the sacrifice and struggles of America’s dairy farmers.”
Keller, 54, represents a part of northern Pennsylvania with a large agricultural economy. He claimed Phoenix was out of touch with working Americans, adding that “the callousness he showed in his speech proves he needs to get out of his Hollywood bubble to see how real Americans make a living. His remarks were detestable not just to me, but to the many hardworking family farmers.”
On Sunday, Phoenix argued during his Oscars speech that people were ignoring injustices throughout the country. He focused on animal rights and criticized the dairy industry for its treatment of cows.
“I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us what we are guilty of is an egocentric world view: the belief that we’re the center of the universe,” Phoenix explained. “We go into the natural world, and we plunder it for its resources. 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. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
Pennsylvania is the seventh-largest producer of milk in the United States. California and Wisconsin lead the nation in dairy production.