This week Oprah Winfrey commented on the backlash she and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson received after they launched the People’s Fund of Maui in August. Together, Winfrey and Johnson contributed $10 million to the fund and asked others to donate as well.
“I was so excited and I got up the next morning and I saw all of this vitriol and I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened here?’” the Color Purple actress said. She added that she felt “vilified” and “terrorized” online.
Winfrey shared that she was inspired by a similar fund set up by Dolly Parton following the 2016 wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Defending the fund, the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks actress said it puts money “directly into the hands of the people” and that she “still think[s] it’s a really strong idea.”
She also highlighted that 2,200 Maui residents have signed up for the fund and will begin receiving $1,200 monthly checks. “It made me sad that we’re at this state in our country,” Winfrey said.
People on social media criticized the millionaire and billionaire for asking people to contribute when they can “barely can pay rent, barely can put food on the table for our families.” Even Nick Cannon said on his Daily Cannon podcast, “It’s in poor taste for a billionaire to ask anyone for money. I don’t care what the situation is.” You can see that discussion here: