Oscar and Bafta nominee Joaquin Phoenix has made a plea for people to “go vegan” as he led an animal equality protest in central London.

The Hollywood A-lister used his pulling power to gather a group of activists for a protest where he dropped a 390-square foot banner from Tower Bridge which declared: “Factory farming destroys our planet. Go vegan.”

He made the call for people to break away from animal products ahead of Sunday’s Bafta award ceremony, where he is in the running for the best lead actor prize for his starring role in Joker.

It is the latest protest campaign by the staunch animal rights activist, who has been a vegan since he was three years old.

Phoenix, 45, later responded to mounting criticism that people in glamour-filled industries like top actors are not in a position to preach about climate change because they are live in a world of frequent flights and high carbon footprints.

After the protest, he said: “We are all hypocrites in some ways. We all struggle with what the right thing to do is and we make mistakes.

“The industry does consume a lot of power and a lot of resources so the way to mitigate that for me is to maintain a vegan lifestyle.”

Animal Equality protest
Animal Equality protesters unfurl a banner on Tower Bridge (Victoria Jones/PA)

He convinced the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation that runs the Golden Globes, to serve its first all-vegan menu at the ceremony’s star-studded dinner last month.

He added: “I think that is part of our appeal to the award ceremonies because there are so many people flying in to the awards and the cars they use – the one thing they can do is to make the meal plant-based.

“I think we just have to try and find that balance. Nobody is perfect but we are all trying to figure it out.

“Instead of being judgmental and attacking each other, we should try to help each other and educate each other about how we can change.

“There are many improvements I can make in my own life and I am trying to do that.”

He turned up at the protest in support of Animal Equality, which is an international organisation working with society, governments, and companies to try and end cruelty to farmed animals.