Oprah Winfrey’s Response To Maui Wildfires Sparks Criticism

The response from Oprah Winfrey on the devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, is causing some major backlash.

Despite Maui officials “welcoming” Winfrey to continue to uplift the community, online critics are calling her actions “truly disgusting,” Newsweek reports.

Another wrote, “Why was it necessary for @Oprah to bring a film crew into a shelter for people displaced by #MauiFires? Is she going to merch their misfortune? Sick and twisted.” 

However, Maui city officials shared on Facebook how grateful they were that Winfrey showed up, and clarified exactly what happened with the camera crew. “Oprah was able to visit our shelter and we thank her for instructing media journalists and camera crews to remain outside,” they wrote. “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.”

According to Variety, Winfrey, a part-time Maui resident, was denied entry to the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku. Maui policy restricted media access, explaining in a statement, “Out of respect for those who have come to seek safety and shelter at emergency shelters, our policy remains that no media are given access.

“We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster and appreciate her understanding of our policy of no camera crews or reporters in our emergency shelters. Mahalo.”


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The former talk show host was filmed on August 10 handing out supplies at the stadium, and mentioned in a Instagram clip that rebuilding the island “is going to be a long and difficult process.”

“There is such an incredible spirit going on in this entire community,” she said. “I know that, long after the camera crews are gone and the rest of the world has moved on, the rebuilding will just begin.”