In a plot twist worthy of Shutter Island, the president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro has blamed the recent Amazon fires on Hollywood’s Leonardo DiCaprio.
The south American country’s rainforests have been ablaze in recent months and without offering any evidence to back up his claim – because who needs proof in this post-truth world – Bolsonaro broke a new doozy for the tin foil hat brigade claiming actor and environmentalist DiCaprio was behind the blaze.
Bolsonaro told reporters in Brasilia on Friday, ‘This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money for the Amazon to be torched.’
— O MUSEU DA DIREITA HISTÉRICA (@da_museu) November 29, 2019
The latest outburst comes just 24 hours after the Brazilian president made an unsubstantiated claim against DiCaprio in a Facebook live broadcast, The Guardian reports.
Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the Amazon.
IRL DiCaprio’s environmental organisation Earth Alliance has so far pledged $5 million towards protecting the Amazon after fires destroyed large parts of the rainforest in July and August.
Bolsonaro’s allegations come after the arrest on Tuesday of four volunteer firefighters who local police accused – again without evidence – of setting fire to the forest to boost fundraising efforts for an international NGO.
They were released on Thursday amid widespread outrage of their treatment and questions over the investigation.
Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo claimed on Twitter on Thursday that DiCaprio had donated $300,000 to ‘the NGO that set fire to the Amazon’, adding an accusation that the WWF paid $70,000 for photos of the burning forest.
Leonardo DiCaprio doou USD 300.000 para a ONG que tocou fogo na Amazônia, a ONG @WWF pagou R$ 70.000 pelas fotos da floresta em chamas.
Macron e Madonna foram mais espertos, só pegaram na internet umas fotos tiradas décadas atrás de alguma floresta pegando fogo e postaram mesmo. pic.twitter.com/8bPF6jrjPV
— Eduardo Bolsonaro🇧🇷 (@BolsonaroSP) November 28, 2019
Leonardo DiCaprio responded to the wild claims in a statement provided to the Associated Press, saying his group had not funded any of the nonprofits named by investigators so far.
The statement read:
While worthy of support, we did not fund the organizations targeted.
The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them.
The WWF’s Brazil office also refuted the president’s baseless claims in a statement:
WWF Brazil rejects the attacks on its partners and the lies involving its name, including a series of lie-based social media attacks such as the purchase of photographs linked to a donation from the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Bolsonaro’s attack on DiCaprio was met with ridicule and anger from opposition politicians and activists.
Randolfe Rodrigues, a senator from the Amazon state of Amapá, tweeted:
How much despair! The omissive and incompetent president, responsible for the unprecedented environmental dismantling in the country, blames even Dicaprio but does not hold his management responsible for being unable to take a step without destroying anything. Sounds like a joke!
Quanto desespero! O omisso e incompetente presidente, responsável pelo desmonte ambiental sem precedentes no país, culpa até Dicaprio mas não responsabiliza sua gestão que é incapaz de dar um passo sem destruir algo. Parece piada!https://t.co/DeH9e4zio9
— Randolfe Rodrigues (@randolfeap) November 29, 2019
Meanwhile one Brazilian created a web script that attributes Brazil’s ills to various Hollywood stars. According to his site, Tina Fey is responsible for the oil spill on the coast and Kevin Bacon caused the country’s slow economic gross. Nerds!
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.