Brazil’s president blames Leonardo DiCaprio for fires in Amazon rainforest

30Nov - by bi - 0 - In Top Stories

Yes, you read that correctly. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused Leonardo DiCaprio of helping basketball this year’s fires in the Amazon rainforest\.

“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Bolsonaro told supporters in funding city Brasília, without offering evidence for its claim. The remark followed a similar accusation on a Facebook Live broadcast on Thursday, during which Bolsonaro named the celebrity as part of a global”effort against Brazil.”

“Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re tinkering with the burning of the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said, again offering no evidence.

The Brazilian president appeared to be accusing the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood celebrity of financing nonprofit groups allegedly responsible for the flames. From the Facebook Live broadcast, Bolsonaro enticed that the conservation firm the World Wildlife Fund of paying volunteer firefighters to shoot pictures of the flames, then using those photos to obtain donations, for example $500,000 by DiCaprio. The WWF has denied receiving such a contribution or obtaining such images\.

DiCaprio, that has been an advocate of environmental causes, responded to the accusations in an announcement on Instagram. “While worthy of service, we did not fund the organizations targeted,” he wrote. “I remain committed to encouraging the Brazilian indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists, educators and general people who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon to the near future of all Brazilians.”

In August, DiCaprio’s ecological charity Earth Alliance announced a $5 million contribution to help protect the Amazon.

Bolsonaro, whose far-right administration has scaled back environmental protections to the Amazon, has attempted to cast blame for the fires others. Police arrested four volunteer firefighters, this past Tuesday, accusing them of setting the fires to get contributions\. (The firefighters have been released.)  In August, Bolsonaro spoke of an”information war going on in the world against Brazil,” and fired a government official he accused of manipulating deforestation information to smear his administration.

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