Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro stunned the world by claiming that Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio was responsible for the recent Amazon fires.
As the world trained their eyes on Brazil in the past few months due to the conflagration in the Amazon rainforests and assessing the damage done, Bolsonaro suddenly has quipped, without any evidence that the Hollywood star was behind the catastrophe.
Bolsonaro hinted to reporters that DiCaprio giving money for the Amazon has a deeper subtext as he was responsible for causing it. The president also made an apocryphal claim against the actor in a Facebook live broadcast which said,
“Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the amazon”
DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance, an environmental organization has so far pledged $5 million towards protecting the rainforest after there was extensive damage due to the fires in the past few months.
It also transpired that the local police arrested 4 firefighters on Tuesday, believed to have set fire to the forest, again without any evidence, in order to raise funds for an NGO, who were subsequently released on Thursday amid widespread fulmination of their treatment during the investigation.
Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo also joined in the bandwagon and accused DiCaprio on Twitter that he has donated $300,000 to the NGO that purportedly set fire to the forest and also that WWF paid $70,000 for publishing photos of the burning forest.
The star responded to these outlandish claims to the Associated Press by dismissing them as baseless and that his group has not funded any of the NGOs involved in the investigation adding that he’s committed to stand with the groups involved in protecting this ecosystem.
The WWF’s office in Brazil also refuted the President’s claim that they had purchased the photographs at a price which is linked to a donation from the actor and dismissing them as blatant lies.
Opposition parties and climate activists chastised Bolsonaro for the baseless attack on the star. A senator also tweeted that the president has the temerity to blame DiCaprio even while they were solely responsible for the deplorable state of the environment in the country through inaction.
This is not the first time Brazil has imputed disasters in its soil to Hollywood stars. According to one website, Tina Fey was culpable for the oil spill on the coast and Kevin Bacon for the country’s economic slowdown.