Last month, Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson initiated a fundraising drive, the People’s Fund of Maui, for those affected by the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii. To kickstart the campaign, both stars jointly donated $10 million and encouraged the public to participate.
Yet, their noble act wasn’t free from criticism. The primary concern was the appeal to the general public for contributions, considering the considerable wealth of the two. Winfrey’s net worth, as per Forbes, stands at $2.5 billion, while Johnson’s is around $270 million. Their joint donation is a minor portion of their collective wealth.
Addressing the criticism on September 13, 2023, Winfrey expressed surprise, particularly due to a TikTok video that misleadingly implicated her in the Maui fires. This claim lacks any backing from trustworthy sources.
The August wildfires in Maui were destructive, causing the deaths of at least 115 people and significant property loss. The latest update from the County of Maui on September 12 states that the Lahaina fire has been completely subdued. Additionally, fires in Olinda and Kula are nearing full containment, currently at 90% and 95%.
Other public figures, such as Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame, have also been criticized in connection to the Maui fires. The nature of these criticisms against various celebrities is multifaceted and often tied to their public stance or actions regarding the fires.
Amidst the criticisms, Winfrey’s dedication to the Maui community shines through. Her astonishment at the backlash indicates her authentic intent to assist. Globally recognized, Winfrey has consistently been involved in charitable causes, the Maui fire relief being a recent example.