Joaquin Phoenix to ‘Drown’ Outside Seafood Fest

For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2022

Lauren Kent 202-483-7382

Annapolis, Md. – Visitors to the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park will get a message from Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix this weekend as his video plea for fish rights is driven around the venue. PETA’s video shows Phoenix underwater, panicking and struggling to breathe. He explains, “In water, humans drown, just as fish suffocate on land. It’s slow and painful and frightening. … Put yourself in their place. Try to relate.”

Among the vendors at the festival is Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, whose owners infamously started a “billboard war” with PETA and have a history of mocking the animals they kill and serve as food.

“Fish, lobsters, and crabs are sensitive beings who value their own lives in the same way humans do,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges everyone to try to relate to who is on the plate and go vegan instead.”

Newkirk stopped eating sea animals 50 years ago when, at a birthday celebration, live lobsters presented to the table could only waggle their antennae to communicate their plight.

Fish feel pain as acutely as mammals do, have long-term memories, and even sing underwater. Choosing vegan seafood helps prevent fish from being gutted on the decks of fishing boats, live lobsters from being dropped into boiling water, and crabs and octopuses from being cut up while still conscious. Plus, vegan fare is free of saturated animal fat and cholesterol as well as kinder to the Earth’s seas.

The message will circle the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park (1100 E. College Pkwy., Annapolis) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—offers a list of faux-fish options on its website and a free vegan starter kit. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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