Last week we reported that billionaire Oprah Winfrey along with multimillionaire Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson faced backlash for soliciting donations to Maui wildfire victims, despite each giving just $5 million themselves. Now Winfrey has broken her silence to address this backlash for the first time, and let’s just say she’s not happy about it.
Oprah responds to her People’s Fund of Maui’s response pic.twitter.com/v1Q0iEyY7N
— Malachi Maxey (@malachimaxeyusa) September 13, 2023
Winfrey struck with adversity
Daily Mail reported that Winfrey, 69, and Johnson, 52, posted a video to Instagram last week asking fans to donate to the People’s Fund of Maui, saying the money would be distributed directly to those affected by the fires in the historic city of Lahaina. However, many were outraged when the couple revealed they had donated just $5 million each, a small portion of their fortune considering Winfrey reportedly has a net worth of $2.8 billion, while Johnson is estimated to be worth $800 million .
“A billionaire and a millionaire asking YOU to donate YOUR money?” one social media user commented, while another added: “Girl you have nerve asking us working class people who can barely afford to put food on the table so our families can donate…why are you asking millionaire/billionaire friends not to help .”
‘Mathematics is not mathematics in this case. You literally have so much money…. You can donate it and make it back in a year,” another user commented, while a fourth wrote: “You have billions. You could donate $100 million and still be as rich as you were before you donated. YOU give the money.”
Backstory: Oprah and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Condemned for Asking Fans for Maui Fire Donations Despite Only Giving Themselves $10 Million
Winfrey defends herself
Winfrey went on “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday to defend herself while promoting her new book, “Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier.” When asked about the reaction she and Johnson were hit with, Winfrey admitted it shocked her.
“Well, this is a really great point about being happier in the midst of an onslaught of being terrorized and vilified online,” Winfrey said. “I will say this. I came out of this experience with so much more compassion for young children because I thought, what if I didn’t really know who I am? It will get you out.”
“So all the online attacks, lies and conspiracy theories really distracted from what was most important, which was the people of Maui,” she continued. “So this idea came about because I was talking to a lot of people on the ground and trying to figure out how I could best help.”
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Winfrey explained that the son of CBS host Gayle King sent her an article about the fund that country legend Dolly Parton started to help victims of the 2017 fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
“I thought, ‘Wow! That’s the idea. Getting the money into your hands, directly into the hands of the people – set up the end structure for that,’” Winfrey recalled. “Since we have both given to charities all our lives, we thought it would be a great idea to start the fund with $10 million. We’ll do what Dolly did: get other people to give money, and then we’ll put it straight into people’s bank accounts.”
not Oprah trying to defend herself by dragging Dolly Parton into it, she needs to keep her mouth shut
— ren ミ☆ zara dag (@mandorens) September 12, 2023
Related: Oprah Condemned as a ‘Fraud’ for Denouncing ‘White Privilege’ Despite Being a Billionaire Herself
Winfrey shocked by response
Winfrey, who owns at least 13 properties in the Hawaiian Islands, never saw the potential backlash coming.
“I was so excited. I was so excited about it, and when I got up the next morning, I saw all this vitriol, and I was like, ‘Wow, what happened here?’” she lamented. “This is what I want I want to say that in the beginning, so many people called and asked, “What do we give our money to?” So I thought: I’m going to give people a place to give it.”
“We’re going to create something and I still think it’s a very strong idea,” she continued. ‘Dolly Parton was right. Putting money directly into the hands of the people is something important, and according to the model that has been created, I will say that as of today, 2,200 people have been cleared and verified, and those people will receive a message from the People’s Fund. from Maui and will have the money deposited into their account.
As for the hate she has received, Winfrey said it made her “sad that we are in this state of our country.”
Watch Winfrey’s full comments on the matter in the video below, with the relevant part starting around the 6:10 mark.
Unfortunately for Winfrey, this whole situation shows how out of touch she is with reality as a longtime member of the wealthy liberal elite. She can try to be as much as Dolly Parton, but ultimately she can’t handle the country music legend.
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