Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on November 29 reportedly accused Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio of financing the Amazon forest fires that have generated international concern. He has also further accused the environmental organisation the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for paying to have images taken by volunteer firefighters who were setting fire to the forest in order to boost fundraising efforts for the NGO. However, WWF has denied receiving any donations from the American actor or obtaining photos from the firefighters.
While talking to an international media outlet President Bolsonaro accused DiCaprio. The Brazilian President said that Leonardo DiCaprio is collaborating with the burning of the Amazon, further declaring that the actor is also a part of an international 'campaign against Brazil'. President Bolsonaro's allegations came after the police officials arrested four volunteer firefighters who were allegedly accused of purposefully setting fires in order to document them and collect more donations. The firefighters, however, were released as many politicians and NGOs criticized the arrest, saying it was part of a concerted attempt by the ruling government to harass the environmental groups.
President Bolsonaro's son Eduardo Bolsonaro on Twitter further wrote, “NGOs BURNING THE AMAZON How long will the extreme press continue to hide that it made a mistake about burning in the Amazon and that Bolsonaro was right? NGOs Health and Joy and @WWF are involved in the case”. In another tweet he wrote, “Leonardo DiCaprio donated USD 300,000 to the NGO that set fire to the Amazon, the NGO @WWF paid $ 70,000 for photos of the burning forest. Macron and Madonna were smarter, just took some pictures taken decades ago of some burning forest on the internet and actually posted them”.
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.— Eduardo Bolsonaro🇧🇷 (@BolsonaroSP) November 28, 2019
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
Brazilian President's accusation further also sparked anger amongst many opposition politicians and activists. Amapá Senator Randolfe Rodrigues 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!”. Ivan Valente, an opposition congressman also tweeted, “Bolsonaro's delirium has no limit. Accusing Leonardo DiCaprio of paying to "set fire" in the Amazon is pathetic. But it is also revealing of how they deliberately lie. Remember that there is a fake news action in the campaign for TSE. There is no doubt about cheating”.