The Indonesian government threatened to deport Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio from the country after he made critical comments on social media about Indonesia’s palm oil cash crops.
DiCaprio went on a mini screed on his Instagram over the weekend, telling his followers that Indonesia’s palm oil fields are destroying the elephant population in the Southeast Asian country.
“The expansion of Palm Oil plantations is fragmenting the #forest and cutting off key elephant migratory corridors, making it more difficult for elephant families to find adequate sources of food and water,” the actor wrote.
Shortly after DiCaprio made his comments on digital media, Indonesia’s head of immigration said the actor risked being deported for lambasting the country.
“If there are statements that discredit the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported,” Ronny Sompie, the country’s immigration director, told Indonesian reporters. Sompie claimed DiCaprio’s visa prohibited him from dabbling in activism.
Heru Santoso, spokesman for the directorate general for immigration at Indonesia’s law and human rights ministry, added to Sompie’s remarks, telling the Associated Press Indonesia appreciates his concern for the country’s rain forests. “But we can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements in his social media,” Santoso said.
The heads of several government ministries came to the actor’s aid shortly after Sompie and Santoso’s comments, saying DiCaprio’s critiques of the country’s palm oil plantations were not out of line. In fact, they said his comments were welcomed. “My view is that DiCaprio’s concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith,” Siti Nurbaya, Indonesia’s minister of the environment, told Forest Hints News. “In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter.”
“The Revenant” actor visited Indonesia, and plans to create a fauna sanctuary in the Leuser rainforest ecosystem, a portion of the country replete with palm oil plantations and mines.