Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the famous American film star, Leonardo DiCaprio, and called on him to stop exaggerating the problems of the Amazon.
“DiCaprio should have known that the head of the World Trade Organization herself said that without Brazilian agribusiness, there would be starvation in the world,” Bolsonaro said. “So it would be better for DiCaprio to shut his mouth than to talk this nonsense. “.
The Brazilian president referred to the publications of the American actor, in which he drew attention in social networks to the problem of fires in the Amazon rainforest, and Bolsonaro said that these publications were accompanied by photographs dating back twenty years.
Bolsonaro appeared to be commenting on social media postings claiming that the environmental organization the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had paid for images taken by volunteer firefighters that it then used to solicit donations, including a $500,000 contribution from DiCaprio.
The WWF has denied receiving a donation from DiCaprio or obtaining photos from the firefighters.
“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said during a brief remarks in front of the presidential residence.
A representative for DiCaprio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
DiCaprio has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of combating climate change, posting frequently on Twitter about environmental issues, including the Amazon forest fires. His Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is focused on projects that “protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction,” is part of the Earth Alliance.
Four members of the nongovernmental organization Alter do Chão Fire Brigade were arrested on Tuesday with police accusing them of purposefully setting fires in order to document them and drum up more donations. They were released on Thursday on a judge’s order.
Politicians and other NGOs fiercely criticized the arrest, saying it was part of a concerted attempt by Bolsonaro’s government to harass environmental groups.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly lashed out at various factions in casting blame for the forest fires.