These days, it seems that Dwayne Johnson is in the headlines more frequently due to his off-screen persona than his film career. Recently, the wrestler-turned-screen actor courted controversy for his affiliation with The People’s Fund of Maui, which sought to support those impacted by the horrific wildfires that ravaged the island throughout August. Though the fund was highly beneficial to a number of struggling Hawaiians during their time of need, The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Johnson took on a great deal of criticism for not pitching in more from his personal fortune.
Fans have criticized Dwayne Johnson for not personally supporting The People’s Fund of Maui, and instead, asking for community donations.
Dwayne Johnson responded to the claims that he didn’t do enough to support Maui through his work with the foundation by stating “I get it and I completely understand, and I could’ve been better — and next time I will be better.”
The actor first launched the fund in late August after viral footage circulated showing the destitute nature of the communities throughout Maui, which suffered over $4 billion in damages. To launch The People’s Fund, Johnson partnered with fellow media personality Oprah Winfrey, pledging $10 million in donations between the two of them.
In a viral video looking for support, Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey asked members of the global community to pitch in with a pledge of $1,200 per month until those displaced by the rampant wildfires could rebuild and return to their homes. Though many Maui residents responded gratefully, the internet rapidly became awash with social media users critiquing Johnson and Winfrey, whose combined total net worth is estimated at $3 billion, for pledging such a small fraction of their wealth to the cause.
“I get it and I completely understand, and I could’ve been better — and next time I will be better.”Dwayne Johnson, addressing online criticism
The effort made by the pair is admirable regardless of the amount of money they’ve pledged. However, many social media users felt slighted at the notion that their strained finances would be used to supplement a charity venture headed by multimillionaires.
Dwayne Johnson concluded his message to his supporters and critics by explaining that he is a quick learner and promising to improve in future outings of this nature.
Dwayne Johnson specifically responded via his Instagram account, where he often connects personally with his following of nearly 400 million users, updating them on both his film projects as well as his extracurricular activities, such as his work on The People’s Fund of Maui. In his response, he expressed regret at having upset so many people and explained that his experience heading a charitable foundation came with a steep learning curve.
Dwayne Johnson concluded his message to his supporters and critics by explaining that he is a quick learner and promising to improve in future outings of this nature. Likewise, Oprah Winfrey took to CBS Mornings to address the controversy, expressing that her intentions with cofounding the People’s Fund were to create a direct pipeline to impacted Hawaiians, regardless of how much individual users wanted to pledge. Oprah expressed regret that the vitriol from online commentators had taken focus away from those in need and centered her and Johnson’s efforts instead.
This controversy pales in comparison to the poor behavior of many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, seeing as Dwayne Johnson was truly instrumental in supporting the lives and well-being of many Maui residents impacted by the historic fires.
With any luck, we won’t see a natural disaster quite like this again any time soon. Of course, if something of this magnitude does rise again, Dwayne Johnson may be just the person to call.