I can’t tell you how excited I was last night to finally steal a few minutes to read the Vanity Fair cover story about you.
Ever since your wipeout at the Oscars and your incredibly humorous reaction to it I have been an admiring fan.
On a darker note, the recent invasion of your privacy left me cold and feeling very sad for you. Your brave and thoughtful response to this crime has been inspirational.
I haven’t even mentioned yet that I love your movies. You are an amazing actor.
I thought, until last night, that you couldn’t possibly disappoint me.
As a huge Woody Harrelson fan (his book Go Further sits on my bedside table), I was thoroughly enjoying reading, in the Vanity Fair article, about how much he loves and respects you, when—BAM—the fact that you are the “anti-vegan,” “anti gluten-free” consumer hit me like a Mac Truck. It goes on to say that Woody is the only vegan to whom you’ll “give a pass.” Give a pass? What does that even mean? I am vegan and it is exactly this kind of comment that makes my head explode. Not eating animals is a choice. Eating animals is too. What is the difference?
I have to state at this point that I am not actually writing this letter to you. I am writing it to everyone everywhere who says things like that relating to personal choice. Of course, I obviously hope that you will read it. Because you’ll probably get it. You might say sorry, and in doing so give others pause. You might actually say, “hell, that was a really thoughtless thing to say”—hopefully realizing that there are likely lots of vegans that you have offended, plenty of other vegans in your life that you might also want to “give a pass to,” or better yet, that maybe you should retire that line all together.
Perhaps you might give your head a shake while you do this, and have the foresight to recognize that one day you too might choose a plant-based diet, for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it a compassionate and incredibly healthy way to live.
Choosing not to eat animals is really, really okay. For me it’s better than okay—it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For people like your friend Woody, it’s a crusade. He uses his celebrity to educate. The more of us vegans the better; we might just help save the planet.
For fun, I am going to assume that somehow this note does get to you. And if it does, I hope we can still be friends, because I really do like you. The way someone like me likes a celebrity. We get a feeling about the person, we read the odd thing and watch all their work. We get imprinted, the same way we do with tangible real-life friendships.
All of that said, I should stress that I recognize I have had the luxury of getting to my 43rd year without the world’s scrutiny. I sympathize with your lack of anonymity very much and I honestly don’t make a habit of pointing out others’ mistakes. I guess being in the spotlight is a sort of trade off for doing what you love to do. Still, it must be incredibly hard. I have said a ton of shit in my life that I wish I could take back. Lucky for me I have a very small audience.
You have experienced what I can only imagine has been a life altering intrusion into your personal life. For that I know we are all truly sorry. I always look for the silver lining in situations, and here there are two. First, perhaps you (and a gazillion others) will stop separating people into categories and seeing one way (or your way) as better than the other. Second, I think the grace you have shown through your recent ordeal has likely helped countless others stand up and speak their truth about how it feels to be a victim. My kids are too young to understand fully what happened to you but I can tell you, you have great influence over your young fans.
If you ever find yourself in Toronto and craving a vegan meal, please look me up. And bring Woody!