UK’s Ben Fogle Pulls Out Of Sarawak PR Contract – “Horrified” At Corruption Revelations

Television presenter and travel film-maker Ben Fogle of the UK was roped into filming promotional videos for “responsible eco-tourism” in Sarawak by the Sarawak Tourism Board. However, once he learned of the corruption, deforestation, and plight of the indigenous communities in Borneo, Fogle pulled out of his contract. Read more below.

Read more from Sarawak Report

Read more about Stopping Timber Corruption in Sarawak

Fogle – he has pulled out of being Taib’s ‘Poster Boy’ for eco-destruction.

One of Britain’s top newspapers, The Independent, has reported that the adventure film maker Ben Fogle has just pulled out of his contract promoting Sarawak ‘eco-tourism’. In a front page story, followed by a double-page spread, the paper leads with the headline “How Sarawak Made A Monkey Out Of Ben Fogle”.

Fogle had allowed himself to be filmed with what had been described as “wild orang utans” available for tourists to see as an “eco-tourism product” and described his adventures in the “remote” jungle.

In fact, the Independent explains to its UK readers, Sarawak is “a regime with one of the world’s worst records in deforestation”.

Fogle told the paper he was “horrified” to learn the true situation on deforestation and corruption under Taib Mahmud in Sarawak, where the Independent verifies that “vast amounts of industrial logging have left only five per cent of forests that have not been either logged or converted to palm oil plantations.”

The respected newspaper continues:

“Sarawak has the fastest rate of deforestation in Asia and exports more tropical logs than Africa and Latin America combined. It has only 0.5 per cent of the world’s tropical forest but accounted for 25 per cent of tropical log exports in 2010“[shocking truth, Independent Newspaper counters Taib’s claims on logging]

Independent’s headline is that Taib fooled Fogle into greenwashing his policies

Vindication for Sarawak Report

Last week Sarawak Report had protested at Fogle’s involvement in a heavily funded PR campaign by the Sarawak Tourism Board, through the UK PR company Hills Balfour.  Now that the presenter has publicly pulled out it represents yet another public relations fiasco for Taib as he attempts to ‘greenwash’ his greedy destruction of Sarawak’s Borneo Jungle.

Fogle has now admitted he was filmed only with captive orang utans, who had been driven from their habitats by Sarawak’s rampant logging and oil palm destruction.  He has denied that he himself ever described the venture as “eco-tourism”, despite it being marketed as such by the Sarawak Tourist Board.

We also pointed out that the photographer on the shoot (featured in Hello magazine and the Telegraph newspaper) was Baram MP Jacob Sagan’s daughter. She, like so many relatives of Sarawak BN politicians, has personally received millions of ringgit of logging licences, which have contributed to Borneo’s environmental disaster.


Full page article in the Independent highlights eco-destruction and corruption caused by Taib Mahmud

‘Cyber-warfare’ – champagne launch cancelled

The Independent article details how the Sarawak state funded PR campaign had recruited a network of ‘Mummy Bloggers’ to try and promote a ‘greenwash’ image of Sarawak as a place where the government was concerned about environmental conservation and the forest.


Wildlife conservation as it should be – In Sarawak?

In an interesting variation on ‘cyber-warfare’ the bloggers had been invited to become part of what was described as a ‘Sarawak Blogger Ambassadors’ Club’ and they were even enticed with free holidays in the guise of ‘press trips’ to the state.

BBC denied they were involved

However, many of these bloggers had already pulled out after learning more about the true situation.  And last night the planned ‘champagne launch’ for Ben Fogle’s series of promotional films about jungle adventures in Sarawak was cancelled in London.

The BBC had already informed Sarawak Report that claims that the corporation was involved in the Fogle films were erroneous.

And Fogle has now finally told the Independent that he had been horrified by last week’s Global Witness film exposing the corruption of Taib and his family and he now has “serious questions” he needs answered.

The extensive article by the Independent has given UK readers a valuable summary of the issues facing the environment and the native people of Sarawak at a time when much of the information on Malaysia has been dominated by expensive PR.

UK readers are starting to be told the truth about Sarawak

The full article from the Independent can be accessed online