Brazil’s Leader Falsely Blames Leonardo DiCaprio for Amazon Fires

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has falsely claimed that the Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio financed the fires just lately set within the Amazon rainforest.

It was the most recent try by the right-wing chief to shift blame for fires which have targeted worldwide concern on his authorities, which has scaled again efforts to struggle unlawful logging, ranching and mining within the Amazon.

In his remarks on Friday, Mr. Bolsonaro seemed to be commenting on strongly disputed social media postings that claimed the environmental group the World Wildlife Fund had paid for photos taken by volunteer firefighters that it then used to solicit donations, together with a $500,000 contribution from Mr. DiCaprio.

The fund has denied receiving a donation from Mr. DiCaprio or acquiring images from the firefighters.

“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Mr. Bolsonaro mentioned with out presenting proof in entrance of the presidential residence.

A consultant for Mr. DiCaprio didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Mr. DiCaprio has been an outspoken advocate of measures to fight local weather change, posting continuously on Twitter about environmental points, together with the Amazon forest fires. His basis, which is concentrated on tasks that “protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction,” is a part of the Earth Alliance.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s remarks got here after 4 members of the nongovernmental group Alter do Chão Fire Brigade had been arrested on Tuesday and accused by the police of setting fires as a way to doc them and drum up extra donations.

They had been launched on Thursday on a decide’s order.

Politicians and nongovernmental organizations had fiercely criticized the arrests, saying they had been a part of a concerted try by Mr. Bolsonaro’s authorities to harass environmental teams.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly lashed out at various factions over the forest fires and the international concern they have attracted.

In a Facebook Live post on Aug. 21, he said that “everything indicates” that nongovernmental organizations were going to the Amazon to “set fire” to the forest. When asked then if he had evidence, Mr. Bolsonaro said he had “no written plan,” adding, “That’s not how it’s done.”

A day later, he admitted that farmers could be illegally setting the rainforest ablaze, but roughly a month later, he attacked the “lying media” for saying that the rainforest was being devastated by the fires.

The Amazon rainforest is considered a bulwark against global climate change.

Mr. Bolsonaro also talked about Mr. DiCaprio on Thursday during the live webcast. The president said the World Wildlife Fund had paid the volunteer firefighting organization to take pictures of forest fires in the Amazon.

“So what did the N.G.O. do? What is the easiest thing? Set fire to the forest. Take pictures, make a video,” the president said, adding that the fund “makes a campaign against Brazil, it contacts Leonardo DiCaprio, he donates $500,000.”

“A part of that went to the people that were setting fires,” Mr. Bolsonaro said. “Leonardo DiCaprio, you are contributing to the fire in the Amazon; that won’t do.”

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