Joaquin Phoenix calls out 'meat and dairy industry' at Jane Fonda's climate protest before arrest

Jane Fonda's final Fire Drill Friday was her biggest one yet.

Over 300 people joined the actress's climate change protest, including Joaquin Phoenix, Susan Sarandon and her Grace and Frankie co-stars Martin Sheen and June Diane Raphael.

This week focused on the major banks and investors that finance fossil fuel exploration, drilling, refining and export; however, Phoenix made a point to call out the "meat and dairy industry" when addressing the crowd.

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"I don't have anything prepared... but something I think isn't oftentimes talked about in the environmental movement or in the conversation about climate change is that the meat and dairy industry is the third-leading cause of climate change," the Joker star said in a video posted by The Hill.

"I think sometimes we wonder, 'What can we do in this fight against climate change?' And there's something you can do today, right now and tomorrow by making a choice about what you consume," he continued.

"I think that it's something that is doable and I struggle so much with what I can do at times. There are things I can't avoid. I flew a plane out here... but one thing I can do is change my eating habits. So I just want to urge all of you to join me in that and you as well, Jane."

Phoenix's involvement shouldn't come as a surprise. During his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday, the actor called on Hollywood to do more to help the environment. ("We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs," he declared.)

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Phoenix, who plans on recycling the same tuxedo throughout awards season to reduce waste, was also influential in the HFPA's decision to offer a plant-based menu at the awards show.

Actress and activist Jane Fonda hugs actor Joaquin Phoenix outside the U.S. Capitol during a protest on climate change Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)

Fonda told a Washington Post reporter that Phoenix "came of his own volition."

Phoenix, 45, and Sheen, 79, led a crowd of protesters to the Capitol Building where they were hauled in for unlawfully demonstrating.

While it's unclear what the actors were charged with, those arrested during Fire Drill Fridays have typically been charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding. While Fonda was front and centre, it appears she sat this arrest out.

The Oscar-winning actress moved to Washington, D.C. three months ago to carry out weekly climate actions called Fire Drill Fridays. Fonda had the intention of getting arrested each week in order to bring awareness to the climate crisis, but the plan hit a snag after her fourth arrest. (Fonda couldn't get arrested before a court date in November or she risked spending 90 days in jail.) However, she spent the eve of her 82nd birthday in plastic handcuffs as she was arrested for a fifth and final time in December.

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"I never would have expected my life to get so much fuller and, in some ways, more meaningful as I moved into my 8th decade... But I’ve heeded the call of Greta Thunberg," she reflected on her blog.

"Fire Drill Fridays, with its weekly civil disobedience and arrests does not want to glamorise arrests. We are fully aware of the racial and class disparities inherent in our criminal justice system — as well as in broader society," she added.

Actress and activist Jane Fonda speaks for the last time during her "Fire Drill Fridays" demonstrations, calling on Congress for action to address climate change on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

"We recognise the yawning gap between our fairly routine arrests here in DC ... and what happened to the young African Americans in Mississippi who engaged in lunch counter sit-ins in the 60’s; of the violence attending the acts of non-violence civil disobedience that M.L. King engaged in. But it was those brave actions that increased awareness of the cruelty of the Southern Jim Crow system and the federal government being compelled to pass the Civil Rights Act."

Fonda returns home to California on Saturday where she will begin shooting Netflix's Grace and Frankie.

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