Hollywood A-listers Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Oprah Winfrey are being criticized for their efforts to help victims of unprecedented wildfires in Maui, Hawaii.
The devastating fires displaced thousands and obliterated an area estimated to be more than five times the size of the state’s most populous city, Honolulu. The wildfires have been called “record-breaking” and are already estimated to have caused more than $500 million in damages.
Locals on the small Hawaiian island have expressed outrage over what they view as the two superstars’ focus on protecting their own properties at the expense of displaced residents. Videos shared on social media platforms such as TikTok have accused Oprah Winfrey of hiring private firefighters to protect her 2,000-acre property before the fire had even broken out. This isn’t the first time that Winfrey has been criticized for taking over land in the tourist hotspot.
In the wake of the disaster, both celebrities have offered aid to affected residents. Johnson co-founded the People’s Fund of Maui with Winfrey, which resulted in a donation of $10 million and a promise to donate even more. Additionally, the fund will give $1,200 in financial assistance to each adult over 18 for a period of six months or until the relief fund is depleted.
Despite these efforts, and Johnson’s emotional video urging others to donate, social media users are still incensed that Winfrey and Johnson have failed to give more and appear to be relying on the American public to provide the bulk of the relief funding for their own luxury properties.
One social media user summed up this sentiment in a video stating, “If you two don’t get your Hollywood elite butts to your other Hollywood elite friends and politician buddies who have millions like you… and help Maui, you guys are crazy.” They went on to express concern over potential “shady real estate deals” and suggested that the displaced residents should be given priority. Other users have commented on Winfrey and Johnson appearing to be “begging” the public for donations while they remain silent on the shady deals that may have helped the actress acquire her property.
It is yet to be seen how much of a long-term impact these stories will have on Winfrey and Johnson’s reputations. But for now, it appears that many locals and social media users are not satisfied with their response to the tragedy.