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“He’s in the chair, but is Joaquin Phoenix present for his interview?” joked David Letterman in response to the highly unusual behavior of his guest, Joaquin Phoenix.

Letterman may have laughed to lighten the otherwise awkward interview, but the mental state of Joaquin Phoenix is not a laughing matter. Hollywood is making light of the fact that he recently quit acting to pursue a rap singing career. To promote his “final” film, Phoenix made an appearance on David Letterman, and he gained a considerable amount of weight, wore dark shades, and put Tom Hanks’s Cast Away beard/wild hair to shame. He was unresponsive and gave one-word answers, acting very awkwardly.

Letterman joked about Phoenix’s uncomfortable visit, but it’s very unsettling that no one recognizes the real problem. Phoenix is obviously mentally troubled. For whatever reason, he’s acting strangely, and I may not be a doctor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he developed some sort of personality disorder, and he’s being exploited on TV. Yes, it’s at his own accord, but this man needs help. He exhibits symptoms of depression by drastically changing in appearance, behaving like a recluse, and stopping his successful acting career.

How is it that someone in the spotlight, someone so obviously disturbed, is not getting any help? Why can’t all the rabid tabloids and reporters figure out that something is wrong? They’re not his parents by any means, but it seems morally questionable to laugh at someone while knowing they are very sick.

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