Leonardo DiCaprio has finally spoken out against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s baseless allegations that the actor is behind the fires in the Amazon forest this year.
Bolsonaro had claimed — without evidence — that DiCaprio is to blame for the fires by funding nonprofit organisations the president believes are behind the ecological destruction of what is called the “lungs of the Earth”.
“The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them,” DiCaprio said Saturday in a statement shared on Instagram. “While worthy of support, we do not fund the organizations targeted.”
The actor added he is “committed to supporting the Brazilian indigenous communities, local governments, scientists, educators and general public who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon for the future of all Brazilians.”
President Bolsonaro’s remarks were part of a wider government campaign against civil society and nonprofit groups working to protect the environment in Brazil.
“DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire,” Bolsonaro had said on Friday in Brasilia. Earth Alliance, the environmental organisation DiCaprio chairs, pledged $5 million to help the Amazon in the wake of the fires which destroyed large swathes of the rainforest.
On Thursday, President Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo Bolsonaro — also a politician in Sao Paolo — tweeted that DiCaprio donated $300,000 “to the NGO that set fire to the Amazon” and accused World Wide Fund for Nature for paying for fake pictures of the fires. The Brazil chapter of the WWF condemned and refuted the allegations.