‘She Has a Right to Buy It’: Oprah Winfrey Faces Backlash After Buying a Big Chunk of Land In Maui for Nearly $6.6 Million

Oprah Winfrey has expanded her real estate portfolio with hundreds of acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

According to local ABC affiliate KITV, the mogul purchased 870 acres in the agriculturally zoned area of Kula, which is located in the central part of the island.

The land was sold by ‘Ulupalakua Ranch for a reported $6.6 million to Winfrey’s Harpo Inc. company in a three-part deal; 520 acres sold for $3.89 million, 330 acres for $2.47 million, and lastly, 10 acres for $100,000.

Oprah's Hawaiian home
Artist rendering of Oprah Winfrey’s home in Maui (Photo: Michel Arnaud for Oprah.com.)

The conservation trust, which is owned by The Erdman Family, protects 11,000 parcels that are used by farms and ranches, natural grazing habitats for local livestock, as well as restoration of the land.

The conservation agreement was put in place in 2009 as an agricultural easement.

The OWN network founder has been a resident of Maui since 2005, when she purchased the historic Thompson Ranch and 100 acres that surround it, some of which she transformed into a garden. She also owns several other acres around the island.

Online, her latest round of purchases have recently sparked a debate.

In recent years, locals have attempted to persuade tourists not to visit the island as a form of pushing back on the rising cost of living. Many have argued that residents do not reap the financial benefits of tourism.

“I like Oprah but WTF do you need 800+ acres in Hawaii for,” asked one person.

“Kanaka only dragging @Oprah but not @larryellison when he owns 90% of Lana’i, Hawaii? Kanaka need to deal with their internalized racism More white folks/missionaries own Hawaii & the god d**ned churches than Black folks Get Real,” wrote another.

“Outside investment? Oprah is a United States citizen buying land in the United States. If the lands up for sale, she has a right to buy it,” argued another in defense of Winfrey.

Last year, radio personality Howard Stern attempted to disparage the billionaire by accusing her of showing off her wealth.

“I make a good living, and I’m having trouble watching Oprah,” he said during his criticism of her Hawaiian property that she has shown on social media.

“I go, wow. Look what’s going on over there? Her estate is unbelievable. When she goes shopping, she goes shopping in her backyard, cause everything is growing back there. There’s a farm back there.”

Several fans slammed Stern for his remarks, but the ultimate clap back came in the form of subtle shade from director Ava DuVernay to the naysayers.

DuVernay noted that Winfrey “could flaunt, but you inspire,” in a birthday tribute to her friend and frequent collaborator.

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