Joaquin Phoenix rescues cow and her calf after 'compassionate talk' with slaughterhouse owner

Every Oscar winner has their own unique way of celebrating Academy Award glory. Some winners part like there is no tomorrow. Others use the newfound gravitas to build support for their passion project. Sanda Bullock famously went to Astro Burger for a humble yet delicious snack.

And then, there's Joaquin Phoenix. Fresh off winning a Best Actor Oscar for his divisive role in Joker, Phoenix decided to do something deeply personal with his moment of elevated cultural relevance.


Phoenix already made international headlines for dedicating most of his acceptance speech to the cause of the vegan diet. A number of news outlets ridiculed the Gladiator actor for interjecting personal politics and convictions into a night dedicated to celebrating pop culture entertainment. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Phoenix, those critics are definitely wrong in this case. Rather than finger-pointing or name-calling, Phoenix's speech was unifying gesture meant to rally people's support from a point of compassion.

In fact, the most uplifting moment of the entire speech was arguably at the end, when a humble Phoenix addressed his own past personal difficulties and called for an end of "cancel culture" where people lift each other up out of and beyond bad behavior.

But just hours after that speech, Phoenix showed he is a person of personal integrity, willing to put his own words into action.

The 45-year-old Hollywood icon partnered with Farm Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to animal rights, specifically to providing shelter for animals rescued from farms.

In a video released by the organization, Phoenix does something truly special: He rescues a mother cow and her calf from a local California slaughterhouse (whom he later named "Liberty and Indigo") after having a civil conversation with the farm's owner. Not just a simple act of mercy, the moment by Phoenix and Farm Sanctuary shows how compassion and civility can cross bridges over even contemptuous issues.


www.youtube.com


It almost doesn't matter what side of animal rights issue you fall on. This statement from Phoenix really says it all:

"I never thought I'd find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences. Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise. Although we will continue to fight for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems, we must take pause to acknowledge and celebrate the victories, and the people who helped achieve them. Shaun Monson, Amy Jean Davis, and the entire LA Animal Save community, have taken their pain of bearing witness and turned it into effective, diplomatic advocacy for the voiceless."

"As a result, Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand. My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we'll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us."

That's an incredible statement from someone who could so easily use their passion as a platform to shame or attempt to cancel those who disagree with them. If you believe in animals rights, Phoenix just gave a master class in how to bring people over to your side. Make it a discussion with a big tent instead of an argument. This is the civility so many people say they miss these days. And we could all use more moments like it.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less

If you've watched HBO's documentary The Vow, you're familiar with Keith Raniere. The 60-year-old founded and ran NXIVM (pronounced "nexium"), a sex cult that masqueraded as an expensive, exclusive self-help group, but which appears to have served as a way for Raniere to get his rocks off while controlling and manipulating young women.

Raniere was convicted by a jury in July of 2019 of a host of crimes that include racketeering, sex trafficking, and sexual exploitation of a child, according to CNN. On Tuesday, he was handed a sentence of 120 years in prison by a federal court in Brooklyn. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis also forbade Raniere from having any contact with NXIVM associates and fined him $1.75 million for his crimes, which Garaufis described as "cruel, perverse, and extremely serious."

The Daily Beast described the bizarre NXIVM cult as "an ultra-secretive organization that preached personal growth through sacrifice" and that had amassed an estimated 17,000 members since it started in 1998. Raniere was a charismatic leader who used the lure of the organization to indoctrinate women, pressure them into have sex with him, and engage in various forms of abuse. In a disturbing twist, the organization was largely run by women, and five of them—including Smallville actress Allison Mack and heiress to the Seagram's fortune Clare Bronfman—were charged along with Raniere, some pleading guilty to the racketeering and forced labor charges.

More than a dozen victims either spoke out or issued statements at Raniere's sentencing, including a woman who was just 15 years old when Raniere began having sex with her—or more accurately, raping her, based on her age. She said psychologically and emotionally manipulated her, leading her to cut herself off from her family. He also took nude photos of her, which led to his child pornography charge.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less

Sam White may only be six years old, but he's got skills that surpass most adults.

The Tennessee youngster and his dad, Robert White, have swept social media and stolen people's hearts in their "YouCanBeABCs" rap collaboration. With dad beat boxing in the background, 6-year-old Sam expertly takes us through the entire alphabet in order, naming careers kids can aspire to with short, clever, rhyming descriptions of each one.

You can be a "A"—You can be an ARCHITECT

Catch a building to kiss the sky

You can be a "B"—You can be a BIOCHEMIST

Makes medicines, save lives

You can be a "C"—COMPUTER SOFTWARE DEVELOPER

With programs and systems and files

You can be a "D"—You can be a DENTIST

Cuz everybody loves to smile

Sam's ease in front of the camera, skill in rapping the lyrics, and obvious joy in performing are a delight to witness. And dad in the background, backing him up with a beat, makes for both a sweet backdrop and a metaphor for strong, steady, supportive parenting.

Keep Reading Show less