Brazil's new Minister of Agriculture has described Gisele Bündchen as a "poor Brazilian" whose environmental activism has bothered the country's image abroad and urged the supermodel to instead become an "ambassador" to the agricultural sector.
In an interview with a conservative radio station on Monday, Tereza Cristina Dias was asked about the "PR problems" that have arisen from Bündchen's criticism of the government's attempt to roll back to environmental protection.
"It is absurd what they do today with the picture of Brazil," said Dias, who was the leader of the peasant causus at the congress, before being appointed the Ministry of the Environment by right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. "For some reason, they go out and paint a picture of Brazil and its industries that are not true."
"Sorry, Gisele Bündchen," she added. "You should be an ambassador and say that your country retains your country's worldwide conservation and does not go around criticizing Brazil without knowing the facts."
Several days after Bolsonara's election B stated that against a proposal to merge the agriculture and environment ministries describing the movement as "potentially catastrophic and a non-return road". (The ministries have been separate.)
In 2017, she spoke against bills on opening up the 600,000-hectare Amazon rainforest to development on Twitter, vetoing President Michel Temer on the bill. She later accused the government of "Amazon auctioning" to the private sector.
Bündchen, 38, has also worked on clean water and anti-forestry initiatives and was awarded a global environmental citizen award from the Harvard School of Medicine. She did not respond immediately to Dia's comments.
After her radio talk, Dias wrote on Twitter : "I said Gisele Bündchen could be an ambassador for Brazil to show that we are producing agriculture for the world conservation of the environment. The model will soon receive our invitation . "
The model could potentially play a key role in the threatening struggle of the Brazilian Amazon between environmentalists and agro-businessmen who have great power in the government after Brazil's crucial turn to the right in October's election.
The Bolsonaro administration has received fierce criticism from environmentalists for its view that the Amazon is overly protected and should be open to development.
Bolsonaro has said that he would withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreements and on his first working day he issued a notice setting the regulation and creation of original reserves in the hands of the Ministry of Agriculture