Leonardo DiCaprio is speaking out against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s baseless allegation that the actor is fueling fires in the Amazon by bankrolling nonprofits he claims are to blame for the destruction.
“The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them,” DiCaprio said Saturday in a statement shared on Instagram. “While worthy of support, we do not fund the organizations targeted.”
Continuing, he added that he is “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.”
Earth Alliance, DiCaprio’s environmental group, has pledged $5 million in aid to battle the widespread blazes, which ravaged the rainforests over the summer.
On Friday, Bolsonaro told supporters in Brasilia, without offering evidence, that DiCaprio was “giving money to set the Amazon on fire.”
The president raised similar accusations on Thursday during a Facebook Live broadcast in which he claimed DiCaprio is “collaborating with the burning of the Amazon” and waging a “campaign against Brazil.”
The remarks are part of a broader effort by Bolsonaro to attack environmental groups. In August, he asserted ― again without evidence ― that nongovernmental organizations were at fault for the fires.
Asked whether he could back up the claims, Bolsonaro simply replied that he had “no written plan” and “that’s not how it’s done.”
Bolsonaro’s son and politician Eduardo Bolsonaro promulgated the unsubstantiated claims on Twitter Thursday, saying DiCaprio gave $300,000 to “the NGO that set fire to the Amazon” and went on to accused the World Wide Fund for Nature of paying for photos of the flames.
In a statement, WWF condemned the comments, calling out “unfounded accusations” and stating that it “repudiates attacks on its partners and lies surrounding its name.”