Is Leonardo DiCaprio to Blame for the Amazon Fires? Brazil’s President Thinks so

Leonardo DiCaprio is a celebrated actor with dozens of TV shows, films, and producer credits to his name. He’s sailed the sea on the Titanic, blurred the lines of reality in Inception, and found forbidden love in Romeo and Juliet. It’s his activism and environmental work that garners the biggest headlines.

Leonardo DiCaprio considers himself an environmentalist

Leonardo DiCaprio walks the red carpet
Leonardo DiCaprio attends the Japan premiere of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ | Jun Sato/WireImage

The devastating fires of the Amazon rainforest burned more the 1,300 acres in six months. DiCaprio’s environmental charity, Earth Alliance, promised help for the Amazon with a $5 million donation.

DiCaprio’s Instagram page has over 38 million followers. This is likely why he uses the channel to re-post other activists and important environmental information almost exclusively.

Among his posts, you’ll learn about species going extinct, climate change, and people doing their part to make the world a better place.

His activism goes back over 20 years with the creation of a foundation.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is “dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants.” According to the website, LDF has funded more than 200 projects and awarded $100 million in grants to 132 organizations across 50 countries. 

World Wildlife Fund also highlighted the actor on their page.

He “sits on the board of several organizations dedicated to these issues including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Global Green USA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).”

Alongside his acclaimed film projects, DiCaprio released a 2007 feature-length documentary, The 11th Hour. The film puts focus on environmental issues and solutions. It was followed by the 2016 documentary about climate change, Before the Flood.

Here’s what Brazil’s president said about DiCaprio’s role in the Amazon rainforest fires

Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, has been controversial in the past. Now, he’s tossing DiCaprio’s name into the headlines with his latest statement about the Amazon rainforest fires.

“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Bolsonaro told his supporters.

“Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the Amazon.”

The president offered no proof of his statements. It isn’t the first Bolsonaro used DiCaprio’s name. He said the World Wildlife Fund was also to blame.

“So what did the N.G.O. do? What is the easiest thing? Set fire to the forest. Take pictures, make a video,” Bolsonaro said on Facebook Live.

He claimed that the fund “makes a campaign against Brazil, it contacts Leonardo DiCaprio, he donates $500,000.”

He continued: “A part of that went to the people that were setting fires. Leonardo DiCaprio, you are contributing to the fire in the Amazon. That won’t do.”

The WWF denied all claims, but what does DiCaprio have to say about it?

DiCaprio issued a response via Instagram

DiCaprio took to his Instagram page to address the accusations directly.

He said, in part, “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 general public who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon for the future of all Brazilians.”

We don’t know how this one will play out for DiCaprio or the rainforest, but we’ll keep you posted.