Billionaire fashion CEO says Greta Thunberg is ‘demoralising for young people’

The 16-year-old accused world leaders of ‘stealing her childhood’ 

Greta Thunberg tells world leaders: 'You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words'

The owner of luxury fashion conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesey (LVMH) has called Greta Thunberg “demoralising”.

Speaking at a sustainability event in Paris, Bernard Arnault – the richest man in Europe and owner of the multinational group which runs luxury fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior – shared his opinion on the 16-year-old Swedish activist who prompted an international youth movement against climate change.

While addressing LVMH’s plans to become more “green”, the billionaire said: “She’s a dynamic young girl, but she’s surrendering completely to catastrophism … I find that her views are demoralising for young people.

“I prefer positive solutions that allow us to get towards a more optimistic position.”

Arnault’s critique comes just days after Thunberg delivered a powerful speech at the United Nations climate change summit in New York, in which she accused world leaders of stealing her “dreams and childhood”.

The activist’s comments prompted backlash from a number of high-profile figures, with some cynics even citing her Asperger’s syndrome as a reason to discredit her.

On Tuesday, Fox News apologised after a contributor responded to Thunberg’s speech by calling her “a mentally-ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left”.

Similarly, US president Donald Trump appeared to mock the teenager’s concerns about the future of younger generations on Twitter, posting: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

In response, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

Bernard Arnault (second right) and wife Helen alongside actors Sean Penn and Charlize Theron at Paris Fashion Week (Getty)

The activist also implored her followers not to waste their time by giving more attention to critics who are “desperate” to shift the focus from climate change.

“As you may have noticed, the haters are as active as ever – going after me, my looks, my clothes, my behaviour and my differences,” she wrote on Instagram and Twitter.

“They come up with every thinkable lie and conspiracy theory.

“It seems they will cross every possible line to avert the focus, since they are so desperate not to talk about the climate and ecological crisis.

“Being different is not an illness and the current, best available science is not opinions – it’s facts.

“I honestly don’t understand why adults would choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science, when they could do something good instead. I guess they must simply feel so threatened by us.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in