HomeDisney InformationDwayne Johnson, Oprah Winfrey Slammed Over Maui Wildfire Fundraiser

Dwayne Johnson, Oprah Winfrey Slammed Over Maui Wildfire Fundraiser

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Celebrities Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey announced that they have donated a combined total of $10 million to start the People’s Fund of Maui, which is offering payments of $1,200 per month to people whose homes were destroyed by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula this month.

However, some social media users are highly critical of the effort, claiming that Johnson and Winfrey’s money was used only to start the foundation, and they’re still asking everyday individuals to donate their own money instead of using that $10 million to directly help the people of Maui.

Here is their announcement video on TikTok.


@Oprah and I are honored to announce the People’s Fund of Maui, a fund putting money directly in the pockets of those who were affected by the recent wildfires. As we have seen firsthand, the impacts of these wildfires have been devastating, and we’re here to ensure with 100% guarantee that your donations will go directly into the hands of Lahaina residents. Every adult resident who lives in the affected area and was displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula is eligible to receive $1200 per month to help them through this period of recovery. All you have to do is go to PeoplesFundofMaui.org to apply. We are honored to start this campaign with $10 million dollars and ask for your help in donating to those who have lost their homes. We thank you in advance for your contribution. Click the link in bio to learn more and give🙏🏾

♬ original sound – The Rock

Both Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey have ties to Hawaii, with Johnson being of Polynesian descent and spending part of his childhood in Hawaii before becoming a massive WWE superstar. Ironically, Johnson voices the character of Maui in the Disney animated movie “Moana” and is set to reprise that role in the live-action remake.

Oprah reportedly owns a lot of property in Maui, and spends part of her year there.

“Billionaires Begging for Money!” Backlash Over the People’s Fund of Maui

Reactions from users to the announcement on TikTok and Instagram didn’t go over well with many. Oprah Winfrey’s net worth is reportedly over $2.5 billion, while Johnson’s is well over $800 million.

“The rich asking for the poor to donate. It’s hilarious,” says one comment with thousands of likes.

“Billionaires begging for money! Who else hates Oprah!” said one.

“People are outraged at The Rock and Oprah for using a tragedy to get a tax write-off!” said another.

Dwayne Johnson claims that every dollar will go directly to victims of the Maui wildfires, and soon.

“We’re meeting the IMMEDIATE NEED of the thousands of people & families who’s [sic] lives have been destroyed,” he posted. “We created the @peoplesfundofmaui where EVERY DOLLAR will GO DIRECTLY TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL affected by this tragedy. I donated $5 million. That cash will go directly to people affected. IMMEDIATELY.”

One skeptical Instagram commenter said “I heard Oprah’s ten million dollar donation was actually just pledged, she didn’t actually have to donate 10 mil. She plans to raise 10 million from us poor people. Same with the Rock?”

Another said, “You’ve lost my respect… people need genuine support, just do it stop posting about it.”

“How about you and you and your millionaire friends bring food and water directly to them and offer to rebuild there [sic] homes. Don’t talk about it. Be about it,” says another top comment.

Twitter/X user Dom Lucre savaged The Rock’s video, claiming that the $10 million doesn’t actually go to the victims, but rather it will be donations from less financially solvent individuals that help the wildfire victims.

In a post, he says…

The $5 million dollars that him and Oprah gave was only the startup fund which means taxpayers are being asked to help by donating to their fund.

The money that Dwayne and Oprah donated actually went to their company. Not one dollar has gone to the victims. In theory, what they did would be no different than a during a standard company start-up. They put funds up to create a system to receive funds.

Why do the victims of Maui have to wait on taxpayer dollars when $10 million dollars are in their ledger’s balance?

Oprah Winfrey made an individual post of her own (OWN, get it?) and she received a similar amount of backlash from internet users.

“It takes a village and I’m so proud to be a part of the village bringing aid to the Maui residents affected by the wildfires with @peoplesfundofmaui,” Winfrey said on Instagram. “From the 10,000 people who have personally donated to the organizations who have been helping since day one to the community leaders who offered their insights to the friends calling me saying they too want to support, we thank you.”

And the backlash in the comments was almost identical to the backlash Dwayne Johnson received.

“Billionaire asking for money from the poor, what a joke,” says one user.

Shame on you!!! Give these hard working people back their money and you and your “billionaire friends” pick up the tab!!” says another.

“Take that 800+acres you just bought and build on it homes for the people of Lahaina….deed it to them Free n clear title as well. Ask your Hollywood elites to participate,” said one particularly biting comment.

Another user echoed that sentiment. “You have billions. You could donate $100 million and still be as wealthy as before donating. YOU give the money.”

The American Red Cross: An Alternative to The People’s Fund of Maui

For those who don’t want to use Johnson and Winfrey’s Maui charity for whatever reason, The American Red Cross offers an alternative. You can apply for financial assistance for the Hawaiian wildfires here.

Here are the eligibility requirements…

  • Your pre-disaster primary residence (renter or homeowner) is in a confirmed disaster-impacted geographic area in Maui County and is either destroyed or has sustained significant structural damage that requires extensive repairs, or the damage is so extensive that repairs are not feasible.
  • You must be able to provide proof of identity and residence.
  • You must apply between August 28, 2023 through September 18, 2023

Claims that “Hollywood Elites” Planned to Burn Down and Seize Control of Lahaina?

Oprah was recently namechecked in an internet conspiracy theory regarding the Maui wildfires. It was claimed on YouTube that she revealed that Tom Hanks had started the devastating Hawaiian fire. Some people on the internet apparently think the fires were started so the area could be seized and turned into a luxury resort for more billionaires and multi-millionaires.

This theory was marked as false by Snopes.

Both Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey Have Disney Connections

Dwayne Johnson, often called “The Rock,” has established a notable connection with Disney through his involvement in various projects. He starred in the Disney film “Moana” (2016), lending his voice to the character Maui, a demigod. The film was a critical and commercial success, and Johnson’s charismatic performance contributed to its appeal. In addition to his acting roles, Dwayne Johnson has also been associated with Disney theme parks, making appearances in promotional events and attractions. His blend of charm, action-hero status, and family-friendly appeal align well with Disney’s entertainment values.

Oprah Winfrey, a media mogul and philanthropist, also has connections to Disney. She was involved in the 2004 animated film “The Princess and the Frog” as the voice of Eudora, the mother of the protagonist Tiana. Oprah’s recognizable voice brought depth and emotion to the character, contributing to the film’s heartwarming narrative. Furthermore, Oprah Winfrey has been a guest on various Disney-related platforms, including appearances on talk shows and events that showcase her inspirational insights and wisdom. Her influence extends beyond media, making her an enduring figure in Disney’s network of diverse talents and voices.

The Maui Wildfires: What to Know

The Maui fire has earned its place among the top 10 deadliest wildfires in U.S. history since 1871, as confirmed by the National Fire Protection Association. The tragic toll of lives lost has now climbed to 114 individuals by Sunday, August 20, with Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier estimating an additional 1,000 people still unaccounted for. In terms of economic impact, Governor Green assesses the fires’ damage at a staggering figure of nearly $6 billion.

The backdrop to this disaster was the Category 4 Hurricane Dora, which made its way across the Pacific Ocean, unleashing powerful winds on the islands. This storm, occurring hundreds of miles south, became a catalyst for at least three fires that ignited on Maui on August 8.

Amid the chaos, the U.S. Coast Guard successfully rescued 14 individuals who had sought refuge in the ocean to escape the encroaching fire and thick smoke, as reported by Maui County officials.

Lahaina, once a thriving royal capital and a popular tourist destination, has been described as being reduced to ruins. Mark Gudmunson, senior pastor of Pukalani Community Church of the Nazarene in Pukalani, Hawaii, somberly shared that the town has been lost.

In the aftermath, the wildfires have left in their wake a trail of displacement affecting thousands, with over 12,000 Maui residents facing power outages and severed communication lines.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.

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