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article imageIndonesia may ban Leonardo DiCaprio for social media remarks

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 2, 2016 in Environment
An immigration official in Indonesia said Saturday that actor Leonardo DiCaprio may be banned from entering that country again. The flap comes over comments DiCaprio made critical of palm oil plantations and the country's environmental record.
Mount Leuser Park
DiCaprio's Instagram page, which calls him an "actor and environmentalist," has a series of photos taken during a brief trip he and staff took to Mount Leuser National Park, a protected park on the Indonesian island of Sumatra; he was on Sumatra on March 26 and 27.
The recent Oscar winner commented on the slashing and burning of lands that is ongoing in Sumatra, done in part to create agricultural land, in particular for companies creating palm oil plantations.
Environmentalists argue that not only does the smoke from the burn and slash operations pollute in Indonesia and neighbouring countries, it greatly increases Indonesia's carbon dioxide emissions and endangers rainforests.
Further, it creates havoc for many species of animals in the area, including elephants, something DiCaprio noted on his Instagram account. "The expansion of palm oil plantations is fragmenting the forest and cutting off key elephant migration corridors," he wrote. "A world-class biodiversity hotspot, but palm oil expansion is destroying this unique place."
DiCaprio: Could face ban
Heru Santoso spokesman for the Indonesian Immigration, Law and Human Rights Ministry, said that while his country understands DiCaprio's stance it is unhappy with how far he took it. It also wants him to stop using social media to criticize companies that are creating industry in Indonesia.
Or else.
"We support his concern to save the Leuser ecosystem," Santoso said. "But we can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements in his social media."
As of this writing there's been no response from DiCaprio.
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