Weeks after the world woke up to the news of burning Amazon Rainforest, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has targeted actor Leonardo DiCaprio for ‘contributing’ to the fire in the area. In his latest live webcast on Thursday, the President claimed that the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) had been campaigning against Brazil by paying the firefighting NGO to set fire in the area to take pictures and make videos that can be used to solicit donations. Presenting no proof of his allegations, Bolsonaro went on to add that the WWF contacted DiCaprio to donate them $500,000, a part of which went to those who set fire in the Amazon.
After the right-wing leader’s statements surfaced, DiCaprio denied having donated to the WWF. He released a statement and praised the people of Brazil for actively working towards preserving their climate. Without taking any names, the actor maintained that he didn’t send funds to any organisation. “The people of Brazil working to save their natural and cultural heritage. While worthy of support, we did not fund the organisations targeted,” he said.
Meanwhile, four members of an NGO named Alter do Chao Fire Brigade were arrested on Tuesday after police accused them of purposefully setting fires in the Amazon to document them and seek more donations. However, the court didn’t find them guilty and they were released on Thursday.
The President mentioned the NGO in his live address and claimed that the members of the NGO had gone to deliberately set the forest on fire. However, he refused to back his claim with a legit proof and maintained that ‘there’s no written plan,’ adding, ‘that’s how it’s done.’
Earlier, Bolsonaro was criticised for changing his statements on the environmental subject. He once admitted that the farmers could be illegally clearing the land by setting the rainforest on fire to have more land for agricultural use. However, in the next statement, he blamed the media for reporting that the rainforest was being ruined due to fires.