Joaquin Phoenix Reveals Why He Won’t Wear a Suit—Unless It’s Vegan

Award-Winning Actor Speaks Out Against the Cruelty of the Wool Industry in New PETA Campaign

For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2016

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – In advance of the busiest shopping season of the year, Joaquin Phoenix appears in a Brave GentleMan vegan wool suit alongside rescued sheep in a new PETA campaign that proclaims, “Cruelty Doesn’t Suit Me. Please Leave Wool out of Your Wardrobe.” The ad is debuting as a billboard at the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and N. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles after a landmark case this week in which six wool industry workers were charged with cruelty to animals for the first time in history after a PETA exposé documented shearers beating scared sheep in the face with electric clippers in Australia.

Phoenix is notoriously opposed to giving interviews and is rarely spotted wearing a suit—but in an exclusive video with PETA shot on location at The Gentle Barn sanctuary, he reveals his motivation for doing both. “When PETA sent me that video of this undercover investigation of what happened in these shearing farms, that was really eye-opening,” he says after hand-feeding a sheep. “I had that rationalization, ‘Well, it’s something that is just taken off them, and there’s not a lot of abuse.'” But, he continues, “After seeing this footage, it’s pretty undeniable that … it’s impossible to do that in a humane way. And so, it seems that the only option is to not use wool. That’s become abundantly clear.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—has revealed in its exposés of the international wool industry that gentle sheep are punched in the face, jabbed with electric clippers, slammed to the floor, and stomped on by impatient workers. As Phoenix mentions in his interview, shearers are often paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast, violent work that can lead to gaping wounds on sheep’s bodies. The wounds are then stitched closed—without giving the animals any painkillers.

Phoenix is part of a long list of celebrities—including Eva Mendes, Alicia Silverstone, P!nk, Olivia Munn, Penélope Cruz, and many more—who have teamed up with PETA to promote kinder wardrobe choices.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind