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”.
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.”
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.”
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