It's good to be Leonardo DiCaprio.
The 41-year-old actor won his first Academy Award earlier this year. He’s atop the Hollywood A-list and has been for some time. He’s movie-star handsome with riches beyond most people’s wildest dreams.
And he can prattle on about saving the planet without the press offering a peep in protest. Why would a reporter grill DiCaprio about recycling, using less natural resources and prepping the planet for a healthier tomorrow?
Because he’s arguably Hollywood’s reigning eco-hypocrite, that’s why.
- The tales of his private plane usage, which leaves a massive carbon footprint, are legendary
- He loves charting gas-guzzling yachts with his tony pals
- Suffice to say he owns more than one home, and they’re hardly modest in size
The irony is that some media outlets have dinged DiCaprio on his hypocrisy. The critiques often come from British newspapers, though. When pressed, his representatives say he often is hitching a ride on previously commissioned jets. That’s a dubious explanation, and it can’t wash away his serial use of private planes.
When a U.S.-based entertainment reporter sits down with the star the subject rarely, if ever, comes up. Nor is it addressed when he’s promoting a new eco-project, like the upcoming National Geographic documentary “Before the Flood.”
Media outlets ignored the chasm between the actor’s lectures and lifestyle after he used his Oscar acceptance speech to sound off on climate change:
“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this.”
Journalists shouldn’t necessarily hector celebrities on political questions. That’s often a function of our clickbait age. Get a star to sound off on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and you’ve got a potentially viral story.
This is something different.
DiCaprio uses his Hollywood bully pulpit to tell us how to live our lives. He also says politicians who disagree with him on climate change shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office.
So asking him tough but fair questions on these topics isn’t just a suggestion. It should be mandatory.
Here are 11 questions the press should (but probably won’t) ask DiCaprio:
- How do you square your consistent use of private planes with your green activism?
- You’ve said, “The idea of pursuing material objects your whole life is absolutely soulless.” How do you explain that philosophy in light of your lavish lifestyle?
- Do you think your large carbon footprint is hurting the very cause you support?
- Do you think science is ever truly settled?
- So many scientific models about climate change have been flat-out wrong. Response?
- Shouldn’t a foundation like yours be more transparent, not less?
- When we experience a hot or cold spell we’re often told it’s due to climate change. When climate change skeptics point to similar weather pockets to debunk climate change they’re told climate isn’t weather. Can you explain?
- Why do you think other environmentally aware celebrities, like James Cameron, also live lives that contrast their beliefs?
- Have you ever had a long, open discussion with a climate change skeptic?
- Climate change is being blamed for the rise in terrorism. Do you think that is more or less of a contributing factor than radical Islam?
- The recent Gulf of Mexico hurricane drought lasted 10 years, despite us being told climate change would cause more hurricane activity. Can you explain?