In a strange outburst, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has levelled accusations at Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, saying he is “giving money to set the Amazon on fire”.
Bolsonaro gave no evidence to back up the accusations but has often made similar claims in the past towards NGOs which have been critical of environmental policies.
Several arrests have been carried out in relation to theser controversial and unproven allegations fires were started to obtain unding of wealthy benefactors such as DiCaprio.
In a statement on Friday from his Presidential home, Bolsonaro said, “This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon.”
He did not add any evidence or offer any substantial reasoning behind his accusation which mirrored a webcast he gave the night previously. That night he accused the World Wildlife Fund of paying for images that had been taken by arrested firefighters.
Mr Bolsonaro said: “So what did the NGO do? What is the easiest thing? Set fire to the forest. Take pictures, make a video. [WWF] 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. Leonardo DiCaprio, you are contributing to the fire in the Amazon, that won’t do,” he said.
The actor and staunch environmental activist released a statement saying: “Although they are certainly worth supporting, we have not funded the organisations that are currently under attack.
“The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to be part of the groups that protect them.”