We’ve been wondering why Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix hasn’t appeared in many films of late, and now we know the answer: PETA drowned him.
The world’s largest animal rights group is no stranger to controversial advertising. In fact, it could be argued that most of its past campaign themes–from models wearing nothing but strategically-placed lettuce leaves to ads likening the slaughter of chickens to the Holocaust–were developed with shock value in mind.
Now, PETA is claiming that ABC declined to air its latest spot during the upcoming Oscars telecast because it’s too “political and controversial.” The commercial features Phoenix submerged in water, as his voice-over draws parallels between the pain and fear associated with drowning and the ordeal of fish doomed to suffocate in the air after being caught. We’re willing to bet PETA didn’t actually expect ABC to run its ad, and was counting on the “too controversial” label to garner the attention the group is so good at earning. I mean, we took the bait, didn’t we? (No pun intended).
While we are glad to see Phoenix return to the dark and dramatic type of roll he is so adept at playing, this particular performance won’t be earning him any air time on the Oscars. Meanwhile, with over 78,000 YouTube hits as of this writing (and extremely heated discussions taking place in the comments section), we think it’s safe to say that PETA has once again cast a lure controversial enough to get the fish to bite.