Oprah Winfrey responds to the backlash to her Maui fund with The Rock

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By James Kay

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Oprah has spoken out about the backlash that she received alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson following their campaign to raise funds for Maui.

As previously reported, a devastating series of wildfires ravaged the western part of Maui, claiming thousands of acres of land, causing 115 fatalities, and displacing thousands from their homes, according to CNN reports.

Furthermore, the catastrophe tragically left 388 people still unaccounted for.

In an attempt to raise financial assistance for the victims of the wildfires, Winfrey and Johnson introduced the People's Fund of Maui through their social media channels.

See Oprah and Johnson's plea for donations below:

Johnson explained: "Every adult resident living in the affected areas of Lahaina and Kula, who was displaced by the wildfires, is eligible to receive $1,200 per month to support them during this recovery period."

Both celebrities also appealed for public donations, with Oprah emphasizing that these contributions would directly benefit "one of the many residents who have been displaced in Maui."

To kickstart the People's Fund of Maui, the global icons donated a total of $10 million. However, this gesture faced criticism from many fans on social media who felt that more should be done.

People shared their outrage online, such as one person who tweeted: "Please don't tell me I just saw a billionaire standing next to a millionaire begging the average, everyday citizen for donations that barely able to get by due to a recession in a country where Biden is giving away all our resources."

It seems that the backlash made its way back to Oprah, and she has since broken her silence.

While discussing her new book with CBS Mornings, Oprah reflected on how the recent backlash has impacted her.

She said: "Well, this is a really great point about being happier in the midst of an onslaught of being terrorized and vilified online.

"I will say this. I came out of this experience with so much more compassion for young kids, because I was thinking, what if I didn't really know who I am? It will take you out."

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Oprah has revealed that was shocked at the backlash. Credit: Steve Jennings/Getty

Oprah continued: "So all of the online attacks, lies, conspiracy theories, really took the focus off of what was the most important thing, which is the people of Maui.

"So this idea came about because I was on the ground, talking to lots of people, trying to figure out how I can best help," she said.

The icon also revealed that she was present at the site of the tragedy and was handing out aid to those who needed it.

"Then I started talking to people and people really wanted their own agency," she continued, noting that Gayle King's son had sent her an article about Dolly Parton, who organized her support fund to aid victims of the 2017 Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fires.

"I thought, 'Whoa! That’s the idea. Getting the money into the hands, directly into the hands of the people - set up the end structure for that," Oprah said.

"I was so excited. I was so excited about it, and then I got up the next morning, and I saw all of this vitriol, and I was, like, 'Whoa, what happened here?'"

In fairness to Oprah and Johnson, they added $10 million of their own money and were trying to do a good deed, so the anger toward them seems misplaced.

Featured image credit: Steve Jennings/Getty

Oprah Winfrey responds to the backlash to her Maui fund with The Rock

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Oprah has spoken out about the backlash that she received alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson following their campaign to raise funds for Maui.

As previously reported, a devastating series of wildfires ravaged the western part of Maui, claiming thousands of acres of land, causing 115 fatalities, and displacing thousands from their homes, according to CNN reports.

Furthermore, the catastrophe tragically left 388 people still unaccounted for.

In an attempt to raise financial assistance for the victims of the wildfires, Winfrey and Johnson introduced the People's Fund of Maui through their social media channels.

See Oprah and Johnson's plea for donations below:

Johnson explained: "Every adult resident living in the affected areas of Lahaina and Kula, who was displaced by the wildfires, is eligible to receive $1,200 per month to support them during this recovery period."

Both celebrities also appealed for public donations, with Oprah emphasizing that these contributions would directly benefit "one of the many residents who have been displaced in Maui."

To kickstart the People's Fund of Maui, the global icons donated a total of $10 million. However, this gesture faced criticism from many fans on social media who felt that more should be done.

People shared their outrage online, such as one person who tweeted: "Please don't tell me I just saw a billionaire standing next to a millionaire begging the average, everyday citizen for donations that barely able to get by due to a recession in a country where Biden is giving away all our resources."

It seems that the backlash made its way back to Oprah, and she has since broken her silence.

While discussing her new book with CBS Mornings, Oprah reflected on how the recent backlash has impacted her.

She said: "Well, this is a really great point about being happier in the midst of an onslaught of being terrorized and vilified online.

"I will say this. I came out of this experience with so much more compassion for young kids, because I was thinking, what if I didn't really know who I am? It will take you out."

size-full wp-image-1263228324
Oprah has revealed that was shocked at the backlash. Credit: Steve Jennings/Getty

Oprah continued: "So all of the online attacks, lies, conspiracy theories, really took the focus off of what was the most important thing, which is the people of Maui.

"So this idea came about because I was on the ground, talking to lots of people, trying to figure out how I can best help," she said.

The icon also revealed that she was present at the site of the tragedy and was handing out aid to those who needed it.

"Then I started talking to people and people really wanted their own agency," she continued, noting that Gayle King's son had sent her an article about Dolly Parton, who organized her support fund to aid victims of the 2017 Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fires.

"I thought, 'Whoa! That’s the idea. Getting the money into the hands, directly into the hands of the people - set up the end structure for that," Oprah said.

"I was so excited. I was so excited about it, and then I got up the next morning, and I saw all of this vitriol, and I was, like, 'Whoa, what happened here?'"

In fairness to Oprah and Johnson, they added $10 million of their own money and were trying to do a good deed, so the anger toward them seems misplaced.

Featured image credit: Steve Jennings/Getty