A story has been doing the rounds that Hollywood actor and ecosystem activist Leonardo DiCaprio may get banned from entering the rainforests of Indonesia after social media comments criticizing palm oil production in the region.
The Inquisitr recently reported on DiCaprio’s efforts to fight to protect the rainforest and the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia, an area threatened by palm oil plantations, logging, mining, and other developmental threats.
The Revenant star spent some time in the Mount Leuser National Park in northern Sumatra, visiting activists and endangered elephants and Sumatran orangutans last week.
Leonardo DiCaprio and his party arrived by private jet at Kualanamu Airport on the island of Sumatra on March 26 and traveled by helicopter to the Mount Leuser National Park. The group reportedly left the next day.
During and after his visit to the Mount Leuser National Park, DiCaprio tweeted and posted to Instagram several images of himself and wildlife activists in the area, posing with elephants and orangutans with the clear message that palm oil expansion is destroying the unique location. All posts had the hashtag #SaveLeuserEcosystem.
“Now is the time to save the Leuser Ecosystem. We must develop a permanent solution to protect and restore this valuable natural asset.”
What has drawn Leonardo DiCaprio’s attention to the Leuser Ecosystem is the slash-and-burn practices used to clear land for the palm oil plantations. These practices destroy huge swathes of the Indonesian rainforest every year in the dry season. Besides destroying the natural home of the endangered species in the area, the burning creates a haze that pollutes neighboring countries and causes massive economic losses.
It seems some officials in Indonesia did not take kindly to Leonardo DiCaprio’s comments about how the palm oil plantations are replacing the rainforest and endangering its delicate balance of nature, along with the livelihoods of local residents and several endangered species.
In fact, immigration officials in Indonesia were threatening to ban DiCaprio from entering the country and the rainforests.
In his social media posts, Leonardo DiCaprio actively criticized Indonesia for failing to protect the country’s natural wonders and blaming the palm oil industry for the deforestation and other harsh efforts on the ecosystem.
As reported by Vanity Fair, the messages of support for the Leuser ecosystem caught the eye of the Indonesian government and reportedly they didn’t like the new Oscar-winning actor criticizing their lack of a preservation effort for the ecosystem in the area surrounding the Mount Leuser National Park.
Reportedly the palm oil industry is one of Indonesia’s chief exports and one of the major pillars of the country’s economy and they can’t have some Hollywood actor messing with the status quo.
While Heru Santoso, spokesman for Indonesia’s Directorate General for Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, did say that the government “supports” DiCaprio’s concern, he added that they highly object to his public demonization of the palm oil industry and criticism of the Indonesian government.
Speaking of his recent visit, Santoso said DiCaprio entered and left Indonesia legally with the correct visa and immigration documentation. However, Santoso took his statement a step further by warning that the Directorate General “can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements in his social media.”
Reportedly while there has been no official request as of the moment, Santoso stated that taking such a step would be totally within the law.
However, since the initial story of Santoso threatening to stop DiCaprio from entering the country hit the media, Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Dr. Siti Nurbaya, has spoken up to say she appreciates DiCaprio’s “sincere and substantial” concern for the environment in Indonesia.
According to Gossip Cop, Nurbaya expressed the possibility of working together with DiCaprio on matters involving the Indonesian ecosystem, saying that the Oscar-winning actor had “certainly acted in good faith” during his visit to Mount Leuser National Park.
Mildly criticizing the immigration department’s involvement in the matter, Nurbaya said, “There was even an official from my ministry serving in the province who accompanied DiCaprio on his visit.”
“It’s really not relevant to link the concerns conveyed by DiCaprio with immigration matters.”
[Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images]