Acclaimed television host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey is finally speaking out the backlash she faced upon launching a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Dora and the ensuing wildfires across the island of Maui, Hawaii.
The host referenced the numerous conspiracy theories spreading about her charitable organizations, and the “lies” she felt shrouded the good deed she intended to do for the people of Maui. Some felt that Winfrey and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should have simply donated out of their own pocket instead of asking for donations.
Oprah & Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson are Getting Major Blowback Over Lahaina Maui Hawaii Fundraising Racket
Oprah Winfrey has disabled comments 2 her Instagram Posts shortly
after it was revealed the billionaire bought massive lands in Da Lahaina Maui area unaffected by the fires pic.twitter.com/TfcC2ZNES7
— DaKey2Eternity (@Key2Eternity) September 9, 2023
Winfrey claimed that she was on the ground on the island and wanted to evaluate what to do based on the needs of the people. The host modeled the fund created alongside Johnson after a similar wildfire relief fund created by country star Dolly Parton. Winfrey claimed that a fund would help get the money to the people faster, and confirmed that herself and Johnson started the fund with $10 million.
Oprah Winfrey responds to online criticism about the creation of the People’s Fund of Maui: “Attacks, lies, conspiracy theories really took the focus off of what was the most important thing and that was the people of Maui.” pic.twitter.com/nRQ6Y0wi2S
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) September 12, 2023
Elsewhere, others alleged that Winfrey hired private teams to protect her property on the island, and refused to house displaced people on her land.
Checkout these Oprah “Coincidences” with the Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii fires 👀🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/BFXM3wB6k5
— 𝕁𝕒𝕕𝕖𝕕 (@Jaded42358177) September 6, 2023
Social Media Theories
Many have begun to accuse Winfrey’s other philanthropic efforts of various sinister activities. The host maintains a school for girls in South Africa, which opened in the early 2000s. The enriched boarding school offers numerous amenities, and online conspiracy theories allege that the majority of students went missing. This claim remains unproven.
Others allege that actress and activist Angelina Jolie refused to collaborate with the host on charities or appear on the show due to the controversies attached to the school.
Elsewhere, former students continue to assert that it is a fully functional school with no major issues.
Come spend a day with me at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls! 🥰 Reunion edition!
Outside of the conspiracy theories surrounding Winfrey, some turned to Johnson’s involvement in the Maui fundraiser. Johnson is of partial indigenous Hawaiian descent himself, and continuously educates his fans and the public on his culture. Notably, the actor voiced a character in Disney’s “Moana,” based on local folklore.
Fellow Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa shared a video statement that some fans suspected referenced the Johnson-Winfrey fundraising efforts in a critical manner.
Johnson is yet to comment on the conspiracy theories surrounding the fundraiser or Winfrey’s philanthropy at this time. The People’s Fund of Maui continues to raise money for those impacted by the damages left in the wake of the unprecedented fires. Adults who lost their homes are eligible for at least $1,200 per month.