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Oprah Winfrey responds to the backlash over her and The Rock's Maui fund

Oprah Winfrey responds to the backlash over her and The Rock's Maui fund

The celebrated talkshow host appeared on CBS Mornings to discuss the 'vitriol' hate she and Dwayne Johnson received on social media.

Oprah Winfrey has said she was ‘shocked’ by the backlash aimed at herself and Dwayne Johnson regarding their Maui wildfire support fund.

At the end of August, the famous duo posted across social media to launch a relief fund in aid of the recent victims of the devastating Hawaiian wildfires.

‘The People’s Fund of Maui’ was set up to help the thousands displaced from their homes and the grieving families of the 115 people who died after a series of wildfires broke out.

At the time of the announcement, Oprah and The Rock committed a staggering $5million each to the fund before urging their social media followers to donate and help raise more money for residents in need

Many, however, were taken aback and surprised to see Johnson - a millionaire - and Oprah - a billionaire - were asking the general public for donations, rather than appealing to fellow famous faces.

Since posting the video and receiving backlash from TikTok and X users, commenting has been turned off and now, Oprah has addressed the negativity herself.

Appearing on CBS Mornings alongside Arthur C. Brooks on Tuesday (12 September), the 69-year-old said she was being ‘attacked online’.

Oprah Winfrey has adressed the 'vitriol' backlash she and Dwayne Johnson have faced on social media.

While discussing her new book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, she said: “Well, this is a really great point about being happier in the midst of an onslaught of being terrorised 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.”

Continuing, the star said that all of the ‘online attacks, lies, conspiracy theories’ revolving around the video had unfortunately taken the ‘focus off’ the fund itself and helping the ‘people of Maui’.

Elsewhere in the conversation, The Butler actor admitted that she had been inspired to start The People’s Fund of Maui after reading an article about Dolly Parton.

The piece in question documented the country singer's previous efforts to raise $12.5 million for those affected by the 2017 Gatlinburg, Tennessee fires.

The talkshow host appeared on CBS Mornings to discuss her side of the story.
CBS Mornings

“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.’

“We thought - because both of us have given to charities our whole lives - that starting the fund with $10 million would be a great idea.

“We'll do what Dolly did, get other people to give money and then we'll put it directly into people's bank accounts,” Oprah continued.

However, despite being ‘excited’ about the fund and for the good it could do for the victims of the Hawaii Firestorm, she said she was met with ‘vitriol’.

“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?’,” she added.

If you would like to donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund, which is supporting communities affected by the wildfires, click here for more information

Featured Image Credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images / TikTok/@therock

Topics: Dwayne Johnson, Hawaii, Oprah Winfrey