Dwayne Johnson has expressed his gratitude for the messages he’s received from survivors who have benefited from The People’s Fund of Maui in the aftermath of last month’s wildfires. He also acknowledges and appreciates those who have openly shared their concerns and issues with the fund.
The actor and producer, Dwayne Johnson, addressed the public criticism of the fund he co-launched with Oprah Winfrey in late August via an Instagram video over the weekend. The fund, called The People’s Fund of Maui, began with an initial $10 million donation from Winfrey and Johnson. It also encouraged contributions from the global community to provide $1,200 per month to support individuals displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula.
Although Winfrey mentioned that the fund was inspired by a similar initiative led by the renowned musician Dolly Parton, it faced backlash from individuals who believed that, given Winfrey’s and Johnson’s considerable wealth, they should have contributed more to the fund themselves instead of seeking financial support from those with fewer resources.
“When we first launched the fund, there was some backlash,” Johnson stated in an Instagram video released on Sunday, confirming that the first round of assistance had been provided to members of the Maui community. “I get it and I completely understand, and I could’ve been better — and next time I will be better.”
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In the caption of the video, Johnson once again acknowledged the criticism, stating that his social media community “only know how to be REAL with each other.”
“You always tell me the truth — good or bad — I’ll always appreciate and protect that straight talk between us, you have my word to always listen, learn, grow and do better,” he continued. “I’ve never launched a fund before — trust me, I’m a quick study and learn my lessons fast. I totally get it and I appreciate you.”
In the Instagram video, Johnson also acknowledged the remarkable strength of the Maui community, praising their resilience as truly inspiring and beautiful.
“Watching families and communities come together after this tragedy is inspirational, and I’m proud of our Polynesian people. Thank you to everyone who has helped by sending resources, love and prayers to all people affected by the fires and a loving mahalo and RESPECT to our OG cultural leaders, our local community organizations, and all our first responders and every person who came together to help our people,” he added.
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In response to the backlash over the fund, Winfrey shared her thoughts last month. She expressed that the criticisms directed at her and Johnson often diverted attention from the community, which was in need of support and focus.
“I was so excited about it. Then, I got up the next morning, and I saw all of this vitriol, and I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened here?’” Winfrey remarked during an appearance on CBS Mornings. “All the online [conversations] — being slammed, lies, conspiracy theories — really took the focus off of what was the most important thing and that was the people of Maui.”
Winfrey conveyed that the fund, which had already confirmed 2,200 wildfire victims seeking financial assistance at the time of her September interview, was not intended to be the sole source of aid, but rather a channel for individuals seeking a direct means of providing assistance.
“I think, in the beginning, so many people were calling asking, ‘Where do we give our money to?’ So, I thought, ‘I’m gonna give people a place to… We’re gonna create something,’” she reminisced. “Putting money directly into the hands of the people is a significant thing.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter