Johnson was speaking at a virtual climate change summit on Earth Day organized by President Joe Biden when he made the remark that’s currently in Thunberg’s bio. Though he wasn’t criticizing the activist, his particular phrasing garnered attention.
“It’s vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive politically correct green act of ‘bunny-hugging’ or however you want to put it,” Johnson said of measures to tackle climate change.
“Nothing wrong with bunny-hugging but you know what I’m driving at,” he said.
Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to read simply “Bunny hugger” in what seemed like an obvious reference to Johnson’s comments.
She’s used her Twitter bio to make fun of world leaders in the past and as a way to respond to criticism.
In December 2019, former President Donald Trump reacted to Thunberg winning Time magazine’s Person of the Year by saying she had an “anger management problem” and she needed to go to “a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
“Chill Greta, Chill!” Trump said. In response, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to describe herself as “a teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
Earlier in 2019, Thunberg used the same tactic in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. She had spoken out against the killing of indigenous people in the Amazon, prompting Brazil’s president to criticize her.
“Greta’s been saying Indians have died because they were defending the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said at a press conference. “It’s amazing how much space the press gives this kind of ‘pirralha.’”
“Pirralha’ is a Portuguese word meaning “brat” or “pest” and Thunberg changed her Twitter bio at the time to just “pirralha.”
Putin told a Moscow energy conference in October 2019 that he thought Thunberg was a “poorly informed” girl.
“I may disappoint you but I don’t share the general excitement about Greta Thunberg‘s speech,” the Russian president said, referencing Thunberg’s famously impassioned speech to the U.N. in New York.
“I’m sure that Greta is a kind and very sincere girl, but using children and teenagers for even such noble aims is wrong,” he said.
Following Putin’s comments, Thunberg changed her bio to “A kind but poorly informed teenager.” It had previously referenced more of Trump’s remarks, describing the activist as “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
Newsweek has asked Greta Thunberg and No.10 Downing Street for comment on this article.
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