‘What About Us Who Haven’t Received Anything?’: Dwayne Johnson’s Celebratory Post for Thousands Who Just Received Their First Payments from His and Oprah Winfrey’s Maui Wildfire Relief Fund Goes Left

When Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced the Maui relief fund they were starting, they received backlash, mostly from people blasting the wealthy duo for asking the public for money to help finance and support displaced victims who lost their homes due to the wildfire that began in Maui on Aug. 8.

Together, they initially donated $10 million to the People’s Fund of Maui, and since its launch, others have donated an additional $800,000, according to Hawaii News Now.

Outraged Hawaii residents even blamed the media mogul, who purchased nearly 2,000 acres of land in Maui, and they criticized her for reportedly bringing a camera crew to a shelter as she came to provide aid to those on the island in the aftermath. Thousands were left without food, a place to rest their head, and, as some documented, only a $700 check.

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Winfrey and Johnson’s philanthropic fund offers each resident over the age of 18 $1,200 per month for six months or until the relief fund is depleted. In the midst of the chaos, the OWN creator’s social media presence continued to grow, fueling more responses from locals needing help, and others.

This seemed to infuriate folks even more, considering Oprah’s estimated net worth of $2.8 billion and Johnson’s estimated net worth of $320 million.

Dwayne Johnson responds to criticism after thousands of displaced Maui Wildfire victims receive their first payment from his and Oprah Winfrey's relief fund months after the tragic incident.
Dwayne Johnson responds to criticism after thousands of displaced Maui Wildfire victims receive their first payment from his and Oprah Winfrey’s relief fund months after the tragic incident. (Photos: @therock/Instagram; oprah/Instagram)

In contrast, the Hollywood actor faced criticism for being insensitive to those suffering on the island, while asking for donations instead of digging in his own pockets.

Months later, and after some success of the People’s Fund of Maui, the “Fast X” star has taken to social media to inform his 392 million followers that people have started receiving money from the fund.

“I have some great news, some awesome news actually, that I’m very grateful to share with you guys,” Johnson began in a video. “Thousands and thousands of survivors, their families, they have now over the past couple of weeks, started to receive their first round of funds. They’re receiving their money, and I got to tell you it’s been the most gratifying and moving thing is receiving all the messages, all the videos, and the messages from the survivors, from the families, of course whose lives have been devastated.”

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Oprah and Johnson claim their team has verified over 2,200 applicants, and according to Johnson, this was the first time that he has ever engaged in such a big effort and made some missteps.

The “Jumanji” actor then chose to “address and acknowledge” the backlash, noting that he understands people’s suspicions about who created the fund.

“I get it and I completely understand and I could have been better,” Johnson admitted.  

He also said that the “next time,” he would do better because he sees the error of his ways.

“I understand, you know, money ain’t falling out of the sky and it’s not growing on trees. There’s a lot of people out there who’s living paycheck to paycheck, and I get it. I know what that’s like,” the former wrestler said. “I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, seven bucks. I know what that’s like.”

He continued, “The last thing you want to hear when you are living paycheck to paycheck is someone asking for money, especially when the person asking for money already has a lot of money. So I get it, I understand.”

Johnson said he remembered when he was in the same circumstances as those criticizing him. He previously has spoken on his rags-to-riches story of having $7 in his bank account while living in his car.

“I was frustrated,” he said, reflecting on that time.

The former WWE star said because he understood how upsetting it might be to not have money and hear someone with money asking you for money. He added that he read the comments on social media and appreciated people for holding him accountable.

“I’ve never launched a fund before but I’m a quick study and lesson learned,” he said to his followers, “So, thank you.”

Fans returned to his comments section under the post’s video to share that they “respected” Johnson for directly listening to others and wanting to learn from his mistakes. One wrote, “Nobody is perfect. Always room for improvement, you’re a good one champ.”

Another said, “I honestly respect him for addressing the criticism. I’m happy the people of Maui are getting help and receiving funds.”

A few commenters responded by suggesting that Johnson should call up his rich Hollywood friends for help, and others claim they still haven’t received any financial support.

“Why dont you ask favours from fellow hollywood rcih people instead of asking us the general people.. I mean you are the peoples champ.. But stop pestering us when hollywood has a lot of money.”

“That’s great your doing this but what about us who haven’t received anything? Not a email, response, anything from the application. I filled it out the day it was put up and myself nor my husband has gotten anything at all.”

Winfrey previously addressed the criticism during a Sept 12. appearance on “CBS Mornings” while promoting her new book, “Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier,” with co-author Arthur C. Brooks. She said she was “deeply” mad and sad at how she was villainized by the public simply for trying to help.

“All of the online, you know, being slammed, attacked, lies, conspiracy theories, really took the focus off of what was the most important thing and that was the people of Maui,” Winfrey stated.

The actress from “The Color Purple” also revealed that the idea for the People of Maui Fund came from a move by country singer Dolly Parton, who held a benefit concert to support those affected during the 2017 Smokey Mountain wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Parton’s event raised $12 million, and set up a fund to put money into people’s accounts.


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