Indonesian Minister ‘Shocked’ at Harrison Ford Climate Interview

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks to US actor Harrison Ford during an interview at the presidential palace in Jakarta. (AFP Photo/Presidential Palace/Abror Rizki)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks to US actor Harrison Ford during an interview at the presidential palace in Jakarta. (AFP Photo/Presidential Palace/Abror Rizki)

Indonesia’s forestry minister has accused Hollywood legend Harrison Ford of subjecting him to a rude interview on climate change that left him “shocked,” an official said Tuesday.

The “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” actor, who is making part of an environmental documentary in Indonesia, attacked the minister with questions during the encounter on Monday, said presidential adviser Andi Arief.

The adviser accused Ford and his crew of “harassing state institutions” and said the 71-year-old could even be deported — although he was due to leave Indonesia later Tuesday anyway.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan told reporters that he had been angered by Ford’s approach during the interview in the capital Jakarta.

“His emotions were running very high,” the minister was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.

“I understand the American man just came here to see Tesso Nilo [a national park on Sumatra island] and wanted violators to be caught the same day.”

The minister added he was not given the chance to explain the challenges of catching people who break the law in Indonesia’s sprawling rainforests, where illegal logging is rampant.

“I was only given the opportunity to say one or two sentences during the interview,” he said.

Arief said the minister thought there would have been some time to discuss the interview before it began.

But in the event he was “shocked that as soon as his [Ford's] crew came in, they started filming and interviewing him… and attacking him with questions.”

“There’s no privilege for him although he is a great a actor,” he said. “His crew and those who were helping him in Indonesia must be questioned to find out their motives for harassing a state institution.”

“If necessary, we will deport him,” he added.

Ford, who has supported numerous environmental causes in recent years, has travelled to several places in Indonesia to make part of a series on climate change called “Years of Living Dangerously” for US television network Showtime.

He also met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday.

As Southeast Asia’s largest economy grows rapidly, swathes of biodiverse forests across the archipelago of 17,000 islands have been cleared to make way for paper and palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and agriculture. 

Agence France-Presse 

  • Max

    Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan seems like a coward, instead of bickering like a child to the media he should skillfully have handled the situation and reacted appropriately. The “attack” of questions wasent to him, it was to the institution he was representing and so he should not take it personally. Harrison ford and his crew were just doing there job, they were there to document a story and that’s what they did! if the minister did not get a chance to respond he should have made the interview public and responded with a letter to the media & to the US Embassy highlighting all his challenges which he claims he is facing. Stupid Man! i wonder how people such as him hold such high office! god bless our nation in the hands of fools!

    • BRB

      It’s a shame indeed that many of the high position in Indonesia such as Ministry position or senate are being given as a political deal, not by competence, not to mention that the president also like to have a retorical (or teaterical) interview to explain many important issues that sometimes not answer the key issue itself .. such a pity that we hand our future on those fools :(

  • J

    Forestry Minister should be the one who is arrested because he does not do his job very well but is good at wasting people’s money. Rather than complaining about not being able to speak, he should focus more on how to overcome the issue. Shame on you.

  • Serigala

    Truth hurts doesn’t it :)

  • Ryuu

    why do a minister of a nation must wait until someone gives him “a chance to respond” in his own country? he’s a minister, for goodness’ sake, if he can answer, he should answer immediately, whether given the chance or not; if he chose not to answer, that means he’s incapable of answering those questions without someone else preparing the answers for him to read, or he simply lacks the ability to communicate at educated-and-logical level
    either way, this kind of person having the position as minister is still a great embarrassment

    • lanun

      How about responding to these criminals that burned down tropical forest with their sovereign funds owned companies? Why no one ever served the time, ain’t that time for Indonesia to down grade diplomatic relationship with these countries, and stop being the victims?

  • jojo

    Meh . In my opinion, He was given the opportunity to retort but probably he couldn’t follow what mr.ford said. One should able to differentiate between doesnt have a chance to give arguments or plainly dumbstruck by the given facts .

  • Peter Griffin

    Typical – if a foreigner asks difficult questions lets just deport him. How grown up Minister. Threw all your toys out of the pram did you? Don’t the political “elite” here know they are being laughed at as juvenile, useless and corrupt? Then they expect foreign companies to invest…

  • Bag o beans

    Ha ha ha. Maybe the “american” and his crew knew beforehand that there would be no logical response. The minister’s reaction is superb. Imagine the headlines if Ford got deported over this.

  • Legowo

    Hahaha this is the result when intelligent meet incompetence. All the minister can do is hiding behind his power. What a joke!

  • Voxclara

    Guess the minister didn’t like being caught without wearing underwear. Unprepared ? More like don’t have the response to facts.

  • MadWorld

    Attacking the ministry of forestry,& we could deport him?
    Now may I ask what were the questions asked by Harrison Ford, because he wanted the violators to be apprehended on the same day?
    Of course Ford does not know much of Indonesian tradition, that includes, dumb ministers, ad-hoc rules, corruption & cronyism.
    Welcome to Indonesian jungle law.

  • Bob Tawa

    Only foreigners are able and willing to seriously question the incompetence of some high ranked officials. They master critical and critical questioning, a undispensable tool in democratic development. Unfortunately some short minded Indonesians still see this as an act of disrespect towards someone with authority. And therefore giving the people with authority a chance to oprress the critical…It’s time to be critical. Just like Harrison Ford..

    • lanun

      Serious question you said??Lol…ask these sovereign funds owned plantation companies that burned down all forest in Indonesia and why no criminal charges filed against them in Singapore and Malaysia ? Be fair or else u look stupid.

      • colroe

        Ianun, you pose a serious question, but in return I ask you, why does the Indonesian government not take action itself against these Singaporean and Malaysian firms? Could it be because of kickbacks? The Government can take them to court here, and stop their activities if they are found guilty.

      • MikeOfAston

        You look stupid with such comment: it’s for Indonesia to prosecute the offenders – Singaporean, Malaysian whoever. Where’s report of supposed investigation http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/address-root-cause-of-yearly-haze-woes/ ?

    • Dandund

      Yes, the short minded Indonesia should also be questioned, why they are not abel to kick out some american company which massively destroyed Indonesian forest.
      I totally agree wit Nadal comment, Ford is genius not to ask this question.

  • Rustynails

    Laugh, The Minister stands exposed for what he is. Harrison and Showtime must be hoping like hell to be deported, what great free PR at Indonesia’s expense.

    Looking forward to seeing the interview.

  • Geek

    My poor eyesight, cant find which question/s merits a deportation. So, ok, the “poor” minister was attacked (?), insulted is the near rounded figure, and not Ford’s fault. The Minister clearly does not know the answers nor how to dodge the issue. One thing is certain, the Minister gave a fine performance for the camera to record. It is gone now. Hope it wont cause you your job later in the day.

  • lanun

    He did ask the platform and now ask the contents..Why can’t Mr Ford ask those companies from Singapore and Malaysia that burned down all the forest in Indonesia exactly the same way he acted in Indonesia and asked very specific questions why no punishment for these criminals in their countries of origin ? Bet he won’t see an exit door if he did that in those countries.

    • TalkingEid

      “Why can’t Mr Ford ask those companies from Singapore and Malaysia….” – because he was in Indonesia, talking to an Indonesian politician. Capisce?
      Numpty.

  • lanun

    Jakarta should handball the blames to these criminals from two pretenders in ASEAN for burning down tropical forest and down grade diplomatic relation till they jail all these idiots in their countries of origin..you did for maids abused in few countries and now do it for environment and forest abused by same countries, remember we need to breath clean air much more important than huge profits, lets help those Indonesians in affected areas. Speed up the criminal charges against these people.

    • Peter Griffin

      It’s Indonesian companies doing this dolt. Why when anything goes wrong in Indonesia is it always someone else’s fault?

    • MikeOfAston

      Criminal charges against “two pretenders in ASEAN for burning down tropical forest” ? Before any charges can be made, the culprits must be determined. The Indonesian government has been talking about investigating palm oil companies for the yearly forest fires since at least 2012 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/archive/indonesia-investigating-palm-oil-companies-over-forest-fires/ . Where is the report? Which palm oil companies have been convicted? No wonder the inept minister was upset because he couldn’t handle the barrage of penetrating questions from Indiana Jones.

  • westtoeast

    Lots of ignorant comments here; assuming that the minister is wrong and this “actor” correct. Common courtesy would dictate that a film crew would meet first with the interviewee and discuss the format prior to rolling cameras. Why is it that foreigners are always right and Indonesians wrong? Is there no pride? Has anyone really examined Zulkifli’s record on forest management? Does anyone really know Ford’s agenda? Do some research, then say what you feel is right.

    • Anti FPI

      Yo..it is impossible that the protocol of the Minister did not received any script prior to the interview….most of the Indo minister staff don’t speak English…So they may received the script but don’t know what to do with it. May be the Minister lack of English speaking…won’t be a surprise

    • TalkingEid

      If the Minister did not want to answer questions, or was not prepared to do so, why did he meet Harrison Ford? Could it possibly be that he was hoping to boost his ego by appearing with a celebrity? Surely our politicians have more integrity than that? (irony button pressed).

    • Debate is welcome

      irrespective of his agenda we are witnessing the destruction of the biodiversity of Indonesia, mainly for profit. When in a decade or 2 its all gone many people will be screaming ‘why didn’t we/you do something’ ‘why didn’t you tell us’
      Well the answer is they have and they do and the government is doing nothing (as exposed here)
      Mate, when its gone its gone. I suggest you do you own research by just taking a look around you (wherever you live in Indonesia) as see how the tree is vanishing, the fish, the birds and all the creatures with it.
      But guy, you have exactly the attitude the govt wants. Why? because it can keep going with the devastation unchallenged at home and in doing so the officials/elite/tni are reaping huge short term monetary gains whilst the poorer are ever more marginalized
      WHO CARES WHAT HIS AGENDA IS !! but DO care about the people and lands we live on

      • Bluesky

        You talk about the attitude man? Ask yourself first whether you understand about the attitude. Ford has a good agenda fixing deforestation. But he has bad attitude as he shown when visiting my government institution. That’s the problem. If you come to my house and you act not properly or not in a modest way i will kick you out. I think you will do the same if experience the same thing. The good agenda ford brought will be meaningless. You know we Indonesia are all struggling to fix the problem as it is in line with Ford. But his attiude that not regard government institution has brought another problem.

  • simsin

    Majority of the plantations are owned by Insonesian business, even those registered in Singapore. Be fair Latin and 22roles or you will look like the sad clowns in your own circus. We need competent people to run our government and take care of our people. As a minister of forestry, he should be more intelligent than an actor like Harrison Ford. The reason he looked so bad is Ford has prepared his stuffs and the minister has not, even though being in the position for years.

    • lanun

      So you are saying those non Singaporeans that owned Singapore registered companies n run business from Singapore can escape jail in Singapore, do clarify so both of us don’t share clown stage.

      • MikeOfAston

        Assume the other way round : Singaporean owned companies registered in Indonesia burning down trees in Singapore. Who should prosecute those companies? Indonesia or Singapore? Your pretender banking brain says Indonesia. Nope, prosecution must be in the country where the offence took place, Singapore, no matter who did it. And rest assured if that was the case, those companies would not see the light of day in Singapore – no bribe, no luxury prison for them.

  • Dandung

    Yes, he is genious for not asking american company ‘freeport’ for how big is the environtmental deatruction created in Indonesia

    • TalkingEid

      Well if we act like children, we should expect the adults in the world to turn up and give us the spanking we clearly need.

  • Peter Griffin

    Most of the companies are Indonesia.

  • Rustynails

    Please explain to me why should a Government Institution be respected? In particular, why should an institution that is so obviously not doing its job garner anything but contempt. I suggest a quick flight over what used to be the jungles of Kalimantan or Sumatera for an understanding of the terms contempt and respect. As for respect for the country, please show me anything the department has do that deserves respect?

  • Dandung

    then americans can create more from forest destruction in Papua and Lombok island. it is a good idea of perlninja ‘american doll’

    • http://xirinet.com/ PerlNinja

      I’m not a fan of americans – but if you’re looking to blame someone, take a look at your own government; they are incompetent, insecure, and profiting handsomely off their own constituents.

      Yeah, let’s blame america instead! Let’s do the Indonesian ostrich thing and deny, deny, deny and instead blame it all on someone else. As long as you don’t have to look at yourself, right?

  • majorquack

    ford for president

  • Forgetyourself

    Its true that the US is the biggest per capita polluter. Im sure Ford’s movie will not turn a blind eye to that. It is silly of you to imply that Ford is not smart to criticise Indonesias pollution just because America pollutes. So your point is kind of stupid

  • N8

    Respect is something that needs to be earnt, it’s not something that should be granted merely due to the power associated with a position.
    Certainly there might be more diplomatic ways to raise issues, but if the problems are obvious and aren’t being addressed then those in charge should be brought to account for their failings.

  • Forgetyourself

    Indonesian politicians are too used to being treated like kings. Politicians work for us, and answer to the people. If the minister cant handle a few tough questions, then he is in the wrong job. The minister should not expect special treatment simply because he is a minister. The Indonesian government would be more effective if it got grilled more often and held accountable for their obvious failures.

  • lanun

    At least he could see the exit door, how about doing exactly that in Malaysia and Singapore where these sovereign funds owned companies involved in criminal acts burning down forest in Indonesia ? Exit door would have been far too reach I bet.

  • lanun

    Agree

  • lanun

    Agree to certain degree but he did have very legitimate concerns n faile to ask why no criminal charges filed against those that burn down tropical forest and what the gov has done to pressure two pretenders of ASEAN to file charges against their companies involved in the criminal acts in polluting the environment in Indonesia ?? Ford is not smart enough n I hoe he didn’t get paid by Singapore government.

  • Anti FPI

    harassing state institution? WHat a crap of bull. Mister Minister get a life and be ready for any criticism; It was only an interview. Maybe because your generation of Indonesian are not use to DIRECT question without “BASA BASI.” GET A LIFE OR GET OUT OUT OF THE OFFICE……

  • MikeOfAston

    1st can you name just one Indonesian actor who devotes considerable time to champion environmental causes or indeed causes other than his own self glorification? 2nd can you name any Indonesian – actor or otherwise – who is of such stature to be granted interview by US Secretary of State. 3rd following such interview, would the Secretary of State threaten to deport the interviewer for exposing his inefficiency? 4th the world’s biggest polluter is China but all the same the US is not blameless. Indeed we in the western world that introduced and started industrialization before environmental damages were known or even suspected have paid the high price in the forms of climatic change, health hazards and loss of flora and fauna. We are now saying to other nations: be careful, look what we have done to ourselves, safeguard your environment.

  • Homer

    22/lanun/Bart: grow up and stop trying to deflect. You have yet MORE egg on face again in the international news this week. You must be so proud.

  • simsin

    Same old, same old. Can’t you just be more logical and objective? Your mentality is one of the reason why Indonesia cannot progress. If there is anything wrong at home, point the finger to others except ourselves. No point argue with you. I just feel sad for our country when even our educated cannot think straight. Sigh..

  • PakLe

    That large? You’re an optimist Mr Griffin.

  • Patrick

    so you will deport an actor for his comments because of something he witnessed? that’s like saying i won’t talk to you again if you tell mummy that i did not do my homework. so much for covering your own mess and call yourself a “ministry”. you need to bribe the ministry harrison, it’s indonesian style… welcome.

  • Patrick

    so you prioritise rudeness than truthness?
    well done kid.

  • Skywalker

    Yep, typically usa. Complaining about what’s wrong in another country and blind for what they do themselves; chiquita, dole poison used for growing bananas, monsanto agent orange resistant grains, mcdonalds enormous waste, or something like usa’s weapons of mass destruction, mines, cluster bombs, radioactive bullets, napalm, a bombs used in wars. in japan, napalm, in vietnam, o don’t forget the miljon deads in irak and so on, and so on. Dear mister Ford, your nation is not an example how we should live our life. Your country represents Darth vader. You should know that. With kind regards luke.

    • Genus Animaus

      Your argument is filled with nothing but strawman attacks.
      Mr. Ford had no intention to represent the USA when he started critising the
      Forestry minister. He merely questioned him about the environmental problems
      that Indonesia was facing, something which the corrupt Forestry department is
      refusing to tackle as this article shows. By attacking another country for
      their problems to refute criticism shows that you no constructive argument to
      make.

  • lanun

    Former Singapore Senior Lee correct. Chase the clever out of this country,singapore, as we cannot be challenged by people whom cant think outside the square…lol

    • Leftfield

      why the baby talk??

    • Unyil

      Like Sri Mulyani u say? huahuahuaa…

  • Vanillasky

    Mr ZH must stay cool… Smoke appears because of fire…. I mean Mr HF said that statement because so many cases happened in Indonesia rainforest. Instead of being angry and trying to deport Mr HF, it is better to show Indonesia’s grand strategy to protect our rain forest.

  • MikeOfAston

    Are you that thick? Let me give another simpler example. If an Indonesian were to kill someone in Indonesia then escape to Singapore, can Singapore prosecute him for murder? No, Singapore can’t, the prosecution must be by Indonesia and in Indonesia the crime location – that’s universal law and that’s why there is such a thing called extradition treaty between two countries (which by the way has been signed by Singapore and SBY but stalled by your DPR). Now for the phrase “kill someone in Indonesia” just replace with any crime you like – illegal forest fires, corruption, money laundering in Indonesia – the concept remains the same. Get it?

  • mauriceg

    He is only shocked because Indonesian journalists don’t have the wit or temerity to do in-depth interviews. They might wake up dead in a ditch from probable TNI-applied mishandling.

  • Pelan2

    The good thing that has come out of this is that this story has already been picked up on by several European news media. RI seems to specialize in feeding stupid/bad news to the world..

  • sheldon

    Could it be that Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan doesn’t want to hear the truth?

  • simsin

    @22roles and lanun, pls refer to the attached link to guess which countries are guilty of slash and burn in Sumatra.
    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/jakarta-and-kl-strike-deal-to-keep-it-hush-hush-on-haze
    Ourselves and Malaysia

  • quas

    Shockingly, the minister is not shocked enough to do anything about his incompetence. Time to up the voltage.

  • CintaIndonesia

    It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.

    Niccolo Machiavelli

  • lanun

    Good one Dez , why is Kpk not allowed investigate military? I am sure with your experience n very wise person can explain that easily, can’t u?

  • lanun

    Read this how mr ford and wwf with its crony con rest of the world…

    THE United Nation’s latest investigation into climate change reportedly admits the world has been warming at only just over half the rate it had claimed in 2007.
    According to a leaked draft of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment of the state of the climate and global warming – AR5 – says the earth has been warming at a rate of 0.12C each decade since 1951.

    But it says the last major IPCC report, released in 2007 and called AR4, claimed the planet was warming at a rate of 0.2C every decade.

    Australian scientists who have questioned the way the IPCC assessments predict the rate of climate change and the impact of man-made pollution on the earth’s warming, said on Monday the leaked report confirmed forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.

    You all idiots believe in something is NOT there and backed by Biggest BS in century. Indonesia must act and fix the issues and stop believe in hot air talks.

  • Lon Otterby

    Harrison Ford should come to Oregon in the USA where the government is about to give away half of our forests.

  • Bagus Nugroho

    True!

  • nag

    who cares whose ego was hurt or whose dirty laundry was aired, Mr. Ford stuck to him, with an Ace, AND that is all that matters :D

  • Jeng Kel