Brazilian President Accuses Leonardo DiCaprio Of Funding Amazon Fires, Actor Clarifies

Brazilian President Accuses Leonardo DiCaprio Of Funding Amazon Fires, Actor Clarifies

Facing scrutiny from world governments, the Brazilian president lashed out at DiCaprio accusing him of funding the Amazon fires, which the actor has vehemently denied via Instagram.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, on Friday, accused Leonardo DiCaprio of having funded the Amazon Fires, reports Fox News. Bolsonaro accused the Titanic actor of making donations to nonprofit organizations that he believes have started some of the fires in the Amazon rainforest. According to Reuters,  the president's accusation comes after he faced increased scrutiny from world governments over his role in the intentional deforestation. Bolsonaro allegedly commented on social media posts claiming that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had paid for images taken by volunteer firefighters which was then supposedly used to solicit donations, including a $500,000 contribution from DiCaprio.



However, the WWF 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.  The actor has responded to the President's allegations via social media. On Sunday, he released a statement through his Instagram page.



He wrote: At this time of crisis for the Amazon, I support the people of Brazil working to save their natural and cultural heritage. They are an amazing, moving and humbling example of the commitment and passion needed to save the environment. The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them. While worthy of support, we did not fund the organizations targeted.



I remain committed to supporting the Brazilian indigenous communities, local governments, scientists, educators and the general public who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon for the future of all Brazilians, he concluded. After fires destroyed large parts of the rainforest in July and August, DiCaprio’s environmental organization pledged $5 million to help protect the Amazon. 



The president's comments led to a raid at the headquarters of two nonprofit groups in the Amazonian state of Para. Several volunteer firefighters, who claimed that there were no wrongdoings, were arrested, only to be released later. Local police then added that they are being investigated for allegedly igniting fires to obtain funding through nonprofits. Federal prosecutors asserted their investigation steers them to local landgrabbers as primary suspects.



In the past, too, Bolsonaro has claimed, without evidence, that the fires were started by nongovernmental organizations in retaliation for his administration's funding cuts. The number of fires this year alone in Brazil is the highest ever recorded since 2013 and it has gone by 85 percent from last year, according to several reports. The country's space research center has already detected more than 80,000 fires this year.




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