Oprah Winfrey Faces Accusations of Hiring Firefighters to Protect Her Massive Estate During Maui Wildfire After Requesting Donations for Displaced Victims Who Lost Their Homes

September 05, 2023 in International

Oprah Winfrey is being accused of doing everything she can to protect her Hawaii estate from the unprecedented wildfires that devastated the island of Maui in August.

Multiple social media users have posted videos alleging that she hired a private team of firefighters to stave off the flames from damaging her 2,000-plus acres of land. Not to mention, many are still outraged the former talk-show host publicly visited shelters where the displaced residents sought refuge after losing their homes.

A widely shared TikTok video claims that Winfrey hired the team before the fires even started and that “instead of taking some of that land and housing even a small portion of those displaced people, you hired a private security team to keep them off your land.”

Winfrey has been a part-time resident of Maui for more than 15 years. The video goes on to take aim at “shady real estate deals” that are targeting displaced residents. One X user alleges that those same deals helped the mogul purchase her massive plot of land for “pennies on the dollar.”

“You’re so concerned about Maui that instead of taking what would amount to a year’s salary for you and four or five of your billionaire friends, which could be used to rebuild the entire place in a matter of months, you’re jumping on social media and asking the American public, most of whom can’t afford to pay their rent right now to do it for you,” continued the video.

Winfrey long has been criticized for taking up land ownership in the tourist hotspot. In the wake of the recent devastation, locals called on her and other notable wealthy people to help with recovery efforts. Along with purchasing items for the displaced, she also partnered with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to launch the People’s Fund of Maui.

The megastars donated $5 million each, but also asked the public to help out. The money reportedly will go directly to residents impacted by the fires, allowing them to have agency over their own needs.

In a video, Winfrey said each resident over the age of 18 will receive $1,200 a month for six months, or until the relief fund is depleted.

Still, critics have taken issue with the multimillionaire actor and the billionaire mogul asking everyone to donate. “If you two don’t take your Hollywood elite behinds to your other Hollywood elite friends and politician buddies that got millions like you do…and help out Maui, you are out your d—n mind,” said one woman.

“They could of just give them the money, the donation will be to raise money for a corrupt cause thinly veiled as a good one,” commented another critic.

Despite users suggesting that both celebs disabled comments on Maui-related posts, users are still able to sound off beneath content both related and unrelated to the natural disaster.

As shown in his own post, shared on Sept. 1, Johnson traveled to Maui to speak with locals about the heartbreak they are enduring. The former WWE star is of Samoan descent and has familial ties to Hawaii, where her mother was born and raised. He also pledged to continue donating as the island rebuilds.

On Sept. 3, Winfrey shared an update regarding the fund, stating that 10,000 people already had donated and thousands of residents signed up to receive the much-needed financial assistance.