Leonardo DiCaprio’s Baggage

The dangers of “celebrity environmentalism” became abundantly clear this past weekend when the sister team who produced Leonardo DiCaprio’s new eco-scare movie “11th Hour “sat down for a Fox News TV interview. Nadia and Leila Conners, looking well heeled and 30 something as they sat down with none other than Sean Hannity – the conservative side of the Hanity & Colmes show on Fox News Channel. After some agreement on the state of the planet, Hannity got down to business and said, “I want to talk about hypocrisy.” And it was all downhill from there.

Hannity launched into his tirade with “Leonardo, the Lear jet limousine liberal produces this film telling us we have to walk to work. Why won’t he take a pledge and promise to never get in a private jet again? And why would anybody take anything you say in this film as credible when your co-producer is a hypocrite? “

The sisters then struck back. “Leonardo flew ‘commercial ‘ to the Cannes Film Festival and they lost his luggage,” said Leila. “He knows he shouldn’t probably fly private anymore.” And then there was this from Nadia. “You are shooting the messenger so you don’t have to deal with the problem.”

Now ladies, c’mon. You know something is wrong when a right-winger like Hannity can rip into you and the only thing you can say is Leo lost his luggage. As good ecologist/filmmaker/activists you know the solution to the planetary ecological crisis is millions and millions of people changing their lifestyle to be more eco-friendly.

But somehow you can’t see the fundamental flaw in using a superstar celebrity to promote your message. Using Leonardo DiCaprio to tell people to ‘recycle, reduce and re-use’ is kind of like asking a crack- head to promote cocaine abstinence. In doing this, you do disservice to the serious ecologists out there who spend their lives living as they preach. Sure, the converted will support you all the way, but the people you are trying to reach after they finish watching the Simpsons Movie only become cynical and less open to your message.

I despise Sean Hannity but Nadia and Leila can only blame themselves when they allow Mr. Hannity this: “You are lecturing Americans about a planetary emergency, a crisis of global proportions. You are giving dire warnings to people and yet your co-producer is putting a bigger carbon footprint in one hour in his private jet than an average American will put driving an SUV for a year. I am sure there are people at home who are saying, ‘when you change your lifestyle, I will consider changing mine. “

As sad as it is, Hannity is right. I think it is time to re-consider this whole notion of celebrity environmentalism. You just set yourself up for a good drubbing at Fox News.

For a quick look at the excerpt from the Hannity interview go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM6jdXrH2Lw

BILL DAY lives in Los Angeles. He can be reached at: