‘She Has No Shame’: Oprah Winfrey Faces Backlash on Social Media Amid Reports She Was Told to Leave Camera Crew ‘Outside’ of Maui Shelter Following Deadly Wildfire

Officials for the County of Maui have clarified rumors that Oprah Winfrey was denied entry into a Maui shelter following a raging wildfire. 

As previously reported, Winfrey went to provide aid to the island after large flames burned down homes, businesses, and land. The four-day disaster began unfolding on Aug. 8 and started in the small town of Lahaina. 

Oprah Winfrey donates funds and relief support amid Hawaii wildfires after facing backlash for buying acres of land.
Oprah Winfrey donates funds and relief support amid Hawaii wildfires after facing backlash for buying acres of land. (Photos: BBC, CDC/Twitter)

Many Maui residents found refuge at War Memorial Gymnasium in Wailuku, where Winfrey and a CBS News crew attempted to enter. However, it has been reported that the talk show icon was only allowed in if she instructed the camera crew to stay behind. 

In a Facebook post shared by Maui officials, they explained, “To clarify, Oprah was able to visit our shelter and we thank her for instructing media journalists and camera crews to remain outside. We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster.

The post continued, “Her visit inside of the shelter today was truly heartwarming and we appreciate her understanding of our policy of having no camera crews or reporters accompanying dignitaries and celebrities in our emergency shelters. Mahalo.” 

It wasn’t long before news about Winfrey’s appearance hit social media, where several unhappy Twitter users voiced their disappointment in “The Color Purple” actress.

“I don’t understand celebrities. Oprah showed up to a Maui shelter with a CBS camera crew. Would you want people coming in and getting publicity during the worst time of your life? What is wrong with people? Everything’s a show. Have some humanity.”


“Oprah used this horrendous fire in Maui to up her own image. Taking a full camera crew and stuffed them in homeless peoples faces at their worst and most vulnerable time, even when she was told she wasn’t allowed. She has no shame. She made this all about her. Shes an actor, and not a good one.” 

“You really brought a camera crew to Maui hawai’i to show off your ‘Charity’ work @Oprah ?. REAL charity comes from the HEART !! you’re over there going ‘Look at me, look what I’m doing’ .. always making stuff about you smh ..” 

Winfrey told BBC that she went shopping at Walmart and Costco to purchase shampoo, diapers, pillowcases, sheets, and other items to distribute to those in need. 

In an Instagram post about Maui’s current circumstances — as of this writing, not all of the fires on the 727-square-mile island have been extinguished — Winfrey noted: “Long after all the camera crews are gone and the rest of the world has moved on the rebuilding will just begin.”

She then credited Hawaiians for being “a strong culture of people and a family-loving people.”

The network mogul previously faced criticism following reports about her real estate portfolio, which now includes more than 2,000 acres of land on the Hawaiian island. Winfrey purchased 870 acres in a popular tourist destination for nearly $6.6 million just this year.

According to CNN, the Maui wildfire has killed at least 99 people thus far and is being described by officials as the “deadliest US wildfire in over 100 years.”

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