Leonardo DiCaprio Speaks Out After President of Brazil Accuses Him of Funding Amazon Rainforest Fires
By Liz Calvario
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Leonardo DiCaprio is setting the record straight after the President of Brazil accused him of funding the Amazon rainforest fires.
On Friday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, without offering any evidence, claimed DiCaprio funded the fires and that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) paid for images taken by volunteer firefighters to solicit donations, including a $500,000 contribution from the actor, Reuters reported. However, on Saturday, DiCaprio denied Bolsonaro's claims.
"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," DiCaprio wrote. "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," he continued. "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."
The WWF also released a statement on their Brazilian site, in which they denied receiving a donation from DiCaprio and obtaining photographs from the firefighters.
In August, the Oscar winner's environmental foundation, Earth Alliance, launched the Amazon Forest Fund.
The foundation pledged $5 million to aid efforts in fighting the wildfires and repair the damage done to the Amazon rainforest, which is known as the "lungs of the planet," considering they produce up to 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
The organization explained that the money raised "will be distributed directly to local partners and the indigenous communities protecting the Amazon, the incredible diversity of wildlife that lives there, and the health of the planet overall."