While he briefly stopped by at the event’s official after-party, Phoenix left the festivities early to make his way to the "pig vigil" – still dressed in his Stella McCartney tuxedo.
The actor joined a crowd of animal rights activists at the slaughterhouse protest, run by the Los Angeles Animal Save – a group that aims to show the truth behind animal agriculture and inspire people to stop eating animals.
During the vigil, Phoenix comforted the animals as they made their way to the slaughterhouse by offering them fresh water and explained to vlogger Jane Velez-Mitchell his reason for being there.
“Most people don’t really know of the torture and murder in the meat and dairy industry,” Phoenix said in a video shared on Facebook.
“I’ve seen it for what it is, so I have to be here.”
He continued: “We have moral obligations to talk about it and expose it for what it really is. We are so indoctrinated with these happy images of animals on farms, on the covers of meat containers, at restaurants and it’s a lie."
“I think people need to know the truth and we have an obligation to do that. Those of us that have seen it for what it really is, we have an obligation to expose it, so I have to be here.”
The video is captioned: "The trucks keep rolling in tonight reportedly filled with baby pigs, hundreds in an overflow waiting yard. 'We see you!'"
Phoenix, who also won a Golden Globe earlier this month, added that several of his friends in the industry have “been really receptive” to his activism.
“There is a change that is happening and it’s now just becoming undeniable,” he said, “slowly but surely we’re getting there.”
“As heartbreaking as it is when we’re here giving water to the pigs I have a certain optimism in our community and how committed everyone is,” Phoenix continued.
“People come down here week after week after week, so I had to come here tonight and support and it’s a little antidote to what I was just given, so I’m blessed to be here.”
Amy Jean Davis, founder of Los Angeles Animal Save, confirmed that Phoenix regularly attends the vigils in LA and praised him for inspiring activists both locally and globally.
“We are so grateful for his voice,” she said.
“All over the world, activists are bearing witness to animals bound for slaughter and waking up the world to their plight.”
Earlier this month, Phoenix praised the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for providing guests at the Golden Globes with a vegan dinner for the first time.
During his acceptance speech while accepting the award for best actor in a motion picture, drama, the Joker actor said: “I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for recognising and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change.
“It really sends a powerful message.”
Prior to the award show, the actor’s sister Rain shared a photo of herself and Phoenix on Instagram, where she shared a statement from her brother.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that this year’s Golden Globe Awards would - for the very first time - serve an all plant-based dinner,” the actor said.
“By acknowledging animal agriculture’s role in the degradation of our planet and boldly taking measures to do its part to reduce harm, the HFPA has shown great leadership."