Rainforest Charity Barred From Entering London Premiere of Leonardo DiCaprio's 'Before the Flood'

Courtesy of TIFF
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Before the Flood'

Members of the Bruno Manser Fund charity were stopped from entering a screening of the eco doc after protesting against DiCaprio's alleged links to a major corruption scandal.

Not everyone, it seems, is allowed to hear Leonardo DiCaprio's message about climate change.

At the European premiere of the star's environmental documentary Before the Flood on Saturday night in London, two execs from a rainforest charity were barred entry to the film by security guards working at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square.

Lukas Straumann, executive director of the Bruno Manser Funds charity, which fights against deforestation in Malaysia, alongside the organization's campaign manager Johanna Michel, were both prevented from entering the theater, despite having tickets. The two had previously unfurled a large banner on barriers outside the cinema that called on DiCaprio to return money he allegedly received connected to a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal in Malaysia.

"This is outrageous and unheard of, as we had done nothing apart from exerting our right to the freedom of opinion in a public space," said Straumann.

At an event on Friday, the charity made a direct link between the corruption scandal, now the focus of a major Justice Department criminal investigation, and environmental issues such as deforestation in Malaysia. It urged DiCaprio to either return the money he received — both for his role as star and producer of The Wolf of Wall Street, alleged by the DOJ to have been financed via laundered Malaysian money, and to his environmental foundation — or step down as the UN's Messenger for Peace with a special focus on climate change.

As for DiCaprio, the newly minted Oscar winner arrived in London on Saturday to give a brief introduction to the film onstage with director Fisher Stevens. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that security was tighter than usual inside the Odeon.

The London Film Festival, which was showing Before the Flood as part of its program, and DiCaprio's reps did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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