Brazil’s ‘forgiving’ president turns tables on actor Leonardo DiCaprio over climate concerns

In true “bless your heart” fashion, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio exactly how he felt about outsiders getting involved in his nation’s politics Friday, rekindling a dispute three years running.

As part of his never-ending pontification on climate change and the need to address it (through the means he deems appropriate,) DiCaprio took to social media Thursday to signal his virtue to the international community. In a short tweet, with a link provided to register ahead of May 4, the actor reminded the citizens of Brazil that their election was upcoming and the Earth was counting on the youth getting out the vote.

“Brazil is home to the Amazon and other ecosystems critical to climate change,” he wrote. “What happens there matters to us all and youth voting is key in driving change for a healthy planet.”

It wasn’t too long before the post earned the attention of the president who clapped back with a shot at DiCaprio’s ulterior motives and his connections, “Thanks for your support, Leo! It’s really important to have every Brazilian voting in the coming election. Our people will decide if they want to keep our sovereignty on the Amazon or to be ruled by crooks who serve foreign special interest.”


“Good job in The Revenant!” Bolsonaro added, possibly as a reminder to the actor that he should focus on what he’s good at and leave the governing to those in charge. As to the remarks about “crooks who serve foreign special interest,” the Brazilian leader was undoubtedly referencing the onset of their dispute in 2019.

After his election to the presidency in 2019, it had been reported that Bolsonaro was accusing charitable organizations of starting the wildfires that were damaging the rainforest at the time. In doing so, Bolsonaro called out the actor by name for donations to the groups he was holding responsible for the destruction.

“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” he said then. Bolsonaro alleged the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) used images obtained by volunteer firefighters after starting the blaze to help fill their coffers. “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.”

“By the way,” he continued Friday once again referencing the previous accusations and further discrediting the actor, “the picture you posted to talk about the wildfires in the Amazon in 2019 is from 2003. There are people who want to arrest Brazilian citizens who make this kind of mistake here in our country. But I’m against this tyrannical idea. So I forgive you. Hugs from Brazil!”

The WWF and DiCaprio denied the allegations at the time and Bolsonaro himself was taking heat for being in support of deforestation as a means to both prevent future wildfires and encourage development that would help lift his people out of poverty.


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