A rainforest charity is calling for Oscar winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio to give up his role as a United Nations “Messenger of Peace for Climate Change” because of his connection to a giant Malaysian corruption scandal.
The Bruno Manser Funds, a Switzerland-based charity, challenged DiCaprio at a Friday press conference in London to renounce his connections to the controversial Malaysian 1MDB fund, which is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over $3 billion in embezzled funds.
“If DiCaprio is unwilling to come clean, we ask him to step down as UN Messenger for Peace for climate change, because he simply lacks the credibility for such an important role,” said Lukas Straumann, director of the charity, which has a particular focus on deforestation in Malaysia.
An eco-warrior against climate change and a producer of the upcoming documentary “Before the Flood” –released via National Geographic later this month– DiCaprio has aggressively advocated against global warming.
Published reports suggest that embezzled funds from 1MDB helped finance the film The Wolf of Wall Street, of which DiCaprio was star and producer. He also allegedly received corrupted money from the fund for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is focused on restoring balance to threatened ecosystems.
The rainforest charity accuses DiCaprio of double standards and “cynical hypocrisy” claiming that there is a direct connection between Malaysia’s deforestation and political corruption.
While DiCaprio’s foundation was engaged in protecting rainforests in Sumatra, the 1MDB fund is directly connected to Malaysian deforestation, according to Manser Funds.
“We hear he has a genuine commitment to nature and championing indigenous rights… but if it comes to accepting stolen money, that’s a simple no go,” Straumann told the Hollywood Reporter.
“He needs to become part of the solution, but today he is part of the problem,” he added.
Heat Street also recently reported on DiCaprio’s fondness for gas-guzzling private jets. The star recently flew 8,000 miles on a private jet to collect an environmental award, leaving as large a carbon footprint as the average American makes per year.