You can't please everyone. It's a lesson we all must learn, and Leonardo DiCaprio learned it the hard way this weekend when he managed to divide the Indonesian government in two. Just as the rest of the world was celebrating his noble efforts to raise awareness about important environmental issues, certain Indonesian politicians fired back by threatening to bar him from ever setting foot in the nation again.
After entering Indonesia on a tourist visa last week, DiCaprio shared a series of snaps on Instagram from the Gunung Leuser National Park in Aceh, speaking out about how palm oil production is ruining the country's forests and endangering its wildlife. Heru Santoso, the spokesman for the Directorate General for Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, was quick to condemn the comments. He said on Saturday:
"We support his concern to save the Leuser ecosystem. 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's warning came just days after immigration director general Ronny Sompie threatened to deport DiCaprio if his activism continued. He told Republika:
“If there are statements that discredit the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported. If he is in Indonesia for other purposes, by engaging in activities that disrupt public order and harm the interests of Indonesia, immigration authorities are ready to deport him."
But it was too little too late as Leo had already left local soil, and now it would appear that other Indonesian government officials are stepping up in his defense. Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry, told Jakarta-based ForestHints.news:
"My view is that DiCaprio's concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith. In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter. In light of this and to reciprocate his sincerity and good intentions, I am open to working together with DiCaprio in a joint effort whereby both of us can have our concerns addressed, including those that pertain to the Leuser Ecosystem."
She also threw a bit of shade in the way of the immigration officials:
“There was even an official from my ministry serving in the province who accompanied DiCaprio on his visit, in particular when he went to see the orangutans in the Gunung Leuser National Park. It’s really not relevant to link the concerns conveyed by DiCaprio with immigration matters.”
And even made it known that she's totally down for getting a cup of coffee with the man himself:
“Who knows, if DiCaprio is around New York when I’m at the UN Headquarters, perhaps we can catch up over a cup of coffee. I would take the opportunity to explain to him in greater detail about the efforts being undertaken by the Jokowi administration to address climate change issues.”
Sounds like a date!
DiCaprio's trip to Indonesia was part of his plans to establish a sanctuary in the 6.5m acre Leuser rainforest, which will include the construction of barriers, training of wildlife patrols and rangers and the reporting of habitat destruction. He spoke passionately about climate change in his Oscars acceptance speech back in February. Watch the full clip below: