A Hypocrite of Titanic Proportions

The troubles of this carbon-plagued world weigh heavily on Leonardo DiCaprio, who uses every tool at his disposal to save the planet from global warming — tools that mostly consist of CO2-spewing private jets, jumbo yachts, energy-gobbling private palaces and his own hot air

dicaprioDon’t tell my wife but I’ve had a man-crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. At this bit in Titanic, I just couldn’t take my eyes off him:

Kate: Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. Wearing this…
Leo:
 All right.
Kate:
 Wearing only this….

But now my man-crush for Leo is over. If I could live my life again, I’d be kinder to my mother, but I wouldn’t see Titanic.

My about-turn came after reading DiCaprio’s speech to the UNgabfest on April 22  pledging more gabfests. He doesn’t just talk  about warming’s armageddon. He wants you and me to catch a bus, while he gets around on his private jets and mega-yachts. And the media reports his frothings in a reverential way, as if he were the Dalai Lama or Gillian Triggs.

At the UN he  conflated 19th century slavery in the US with current global warming (under 1degC in the past 100 years) as “the defining crisis of our time… a runaway freight train bringing with it an impending disaster for all living things.”  Quoting Abraham Lincoln, he concluded:

“The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the last generation… We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. That is our charge now – you are the last best hope of Earth. We ask you to protect it. Or we – and all living things we cherish – are history.”

Two years ago, Ban Ki-Moon appointed DiCaprio as the  UN’s climate-change Messenger for Peace, saying, “Mr. DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement. I am pleased he has chosen to add his voice to UN efforts to raise awareness of the urgency and benefits of acting now to combat climate change.”

Six months later, DiCaprio was paparazzi’d lounging between parties at Cannes on his 140-metre superyacht, Rising Sun, borrowed from Dreamworks Studio co-founder David Geffen. It’s the 11thlargest yacht in the world, cost $US200m, takes a crew of 45 and runs on 48,000 horsepower-worth of diesels.

Ban Ki-Moon, who lacks any sense of the ridiculous, last March followed up on DiCaprio’s appointment  by appointing Red of the cell-phone game “Angry Birds” as “Honorary Ambassador for Green” with the task of persuading us to associate happiness with combating global warming. This was part of the hoo-ha leading up to the UN’s “International Day of Happiness” on March 20. Red’s voice-over actor squawked, “Polluting the air really ruffles my feathers! Make the angry birds happy by taking public transport.”

  • In June, 2014, Caprio flew privately with a score of pals to Brazil for the World Cup, renting or borrowing accommodation in Rio de Janiero harbor on the $US 500-million, eight-deck yacht Topaz, at 482 feet and 12,000 tonnes the world’s fifth-biggest. Powered by two 8000HP diesels, it can push Topaz to 25knots, burning $US16,000 worth of  fuel a day. Various minor diesels alone burn 1000 litres of fuel daily. The yacht’s owner is UAE sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (two wives, five kids), whose family has a $US150-billion fortune from the oil Leo wants kept in the ground. Such yachts rent for around four million euros a week.
  • Two months earlier, he held a  celeb party for 100 on the same yacht in New York, hosting the show in a velour pant-suit.
  • In January, he flew by private jet to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to  attack the “greed” of the energy industry and pick up the Forum’s “Crystal Award” for alerting the planet to the perils of climate change. The Davos audience had themselves arrived via about 1700 private flights into Zurich and nearby airports.
  • On September 21, 2014,  DiCaprio was out there with Spanky Banki[1] and other celeb riffraff on New York’s  climate change march, demanding that oil be kept in the ground and tar-sands mining be halted “as an existential threat to our planet”.
  • Wikileaks in its Sony hacks exposed that Leo boarded a private jet six different times within six weeks early in 2014 on $US200,000 worth of New York-Los Angeles hops, not to mention a mini-hop LA-Las Vegas.
  • In 2011, DiCaprio flew into Sydney from New York by private jet. His story was that he does fly privately occasionally to “remote locations”. Melburnians would agree Sydney fits that bill.
  • He collects private homes, viz a $US17m Malibu beachfront complex (recently sold); a $US4 million home in Manhattan’s Battery Park City and adjoining $US8m apartment; a Palm Springs mansion, $US5.2m; and a $US10m  Greenwich Village apartment including “dawn simulation” by circadian lighting. He also owns an island in Belize which he’s developing  in an eco-friendly way, of course, for 45 condos.

But forget all that. As DiCaprio puts it,

“The idea of pursuing material objects your whole life is absolutely soulless. Steve Jobs sat on his deathbed talking about how greed and wealth is the root problem of everything. I believe that too. My career has given me so much from a material standpoint. I feel that I absolutely need to give back in whatever capacity I can. It’s my moral obligation…We’re absolutely digging our own ecological grave.”

DiCaprio told the Davos fly-in crowd that

“…dirty, carbon-intensive fuels” have to be left in the ground “where they belong…We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries to determine the future of humanity.

Together we are fighting to preserve our fragile climate from irreversible damage and devastation of unthinkable proportions.”

As he averred at the UN last September, “None of this is rhetoric, and none of it is hysteria. It is fact.” Not one to understate his case, he told celebs at his Oscar award:

“Climate change is the most fundamental and existential threat to our species. The consequences are unthinkable and worse, it has the potential to make our planet unlivable… if we do not act together, we will surely perish.”

He’s making a pious environment documentary film,  explaining how “we’re literally going through an extinction right now. We’re changing our climates irreparably.”

We all know that the Prince of Climate Hypocrites is Al Gore, whose 20-room Tennessee mansion at the time of his Nobel Peace award was running up $US30,000 a year in power bills.[2]   It’s less well-known that the producer of his Inconvenient Truth fiction movie, the-then Mrs Laurie David, was another “Gulfstream liberal”. “It’s so easy to marginalise people,” she said in self-defence. “Yes, I take a private plane on holiday a couple of times a year, and I feel horribly guilty about it. I probably shouldn’t do it. But the truth is, I’m not perfect. This is not about perfection. I don’t expect anybody else to be perfect either. That’s what hurts the environmental movement — holding people to a standard they cannot meet. That just pushes people away.” Well, yes, and so does green hypocrisy.

The plot thickened when the gossip magazines reported she was also canoodling with Gore (her husband, Larry, was creator of the Seinfeld TV series). She denied it, especially some  claims that she and Al had made out in the back seat of a Prius. Mr Gore divorced his mate Tipper and Mrs David divorced Larry about the same time, but that was coincidence.

Australian actors don’t get the same reverence as the Hollywood set.[3] Cate Blanchett (current net worth $60m) starred in a Rudd carbon tax ad in 2011, and a decade ago blamed climate change for the drought (that was followed soon after by floods).[4] She had done her bit for our parched continent by cutting showers to two minutes and occasionally choosing not to wash her hair. Her taste in real estate is not all that emissions-conscious. Last year she bought Highwell House on 13 acres in East Sussex for $6m. It includes eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms, and a 40-foot drawing room lit by crystal chandeliers. Cate and hubby Andrew Upton were cashed up after selling their Hunters Hill pad, Bulwarra, for around $20m last September.

Celebs can spend their cash how they like. But please, pause the preaching.

Tony Thomas blogs at No B-S Here, I Hope. His book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, launches at Gambero’s, 166 Lygon St, Carlton, 6.30pm Thursday May 19.


[1] Kevin Rudd’s soubriquet. Don’t blame me.

[2] In 2013 Gore and his partners sold his Current TV channel for $US500m to  the oil-rich Qatar ruling family’s Al Jazeera. When the Qataris sought to welsh on $US65m of the price, he deposed that  his deeper motive for the sale was “to help foster deeper mutual understanding between the United States and Arab World”.

[3]  Woody Harrelson in 2014 did a TV ad for Tom Steyer: “Now they tell us climate change is a hoax. Some powerful people want to hold us back. But the truth is undeniable. This is a fight we will win.” But a few years earlier at the Cannes film festival, he discovered he’d left his vegan belt and shoes behind, so he had them flown out from California by Fedex.

[4] Cate  was chauffeured out to “drought-ravaged Lake Samsonvale, north of Brisbane” in 2007 by the Australian Conservation Foundation, which conveyed her in a “fuel-efficient hybrid four-wheel-drive”. While posing there for photographers, she complained of Australia lagging behind on emissions targets and boasted of putting solar panels on her Hunters Hill mansion. Lake Samsonvale today is about 70% full (a year ago, 90%).

COMMENTS [3]

  1. Bill Martin

    Logic and reason would suggest that such extreme hypocrisy is simply not possible. Apparently it is.

  2. ianl

    About 10 (?) years ago, a respected Detective finally retired from the NSW Police Force. At his farewell, he was asked:

    “What is the most potent memory you have ?”

    “I have never found any bottom to human hypocrisy”, he answered.

    The Greens demonstrate this every day. The woman who owns the Huffington Post (HuffPuff), including the Aus variation, just one year ago flew in her private jet from Texas to a destination in Switzerland to attend a seminar on how to get people to use less air travel – I kid not.

    My gut feeling is that in about 10 years, DiCaprio will try a Reagan, ie. run for President.

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