Oprah Speaks On Backlash Surrounding Maui Fundraiser

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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.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey onstage during Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour presented by WW
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey onstage during Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour presented by WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) at State Farm Arena on January 25, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Oprah)


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.

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.

Elsewhere, others alleged that Winfrey hired private teams to protect her property on the island, and refused to house displaced people on her land.


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.


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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.


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Elsewhere, former students continue to assert that it is a fully functional school with no major issues.



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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.


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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.

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