In a video the actor posted on Instagram, he shared good news about the People's Fund of Maui, which has now helped families affected by the wildfire, but also addressed the frustration over celebrities asking working class people for money.
"When we first launched the fund, there was some backlash... And I want to address and acknowledge that backlash right now, and here's what I have to say about that," began Johnson.
"I get it. And I completely understand. And I could have been better, and next time I will be better. I understand money ain't falling out of the sky and it's not growing on trees," continued the actor.
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"There's a lot of people out there who's living paycheck to paycheck and I get it and I know what that's like. I've lived paycheck to paycheck," said Johnson. "I know what that's like and when you are living paycheck to paycheck, I don't wanna speak for everybody I'll speak for myself, but I feel it's connected."
"When you're living paycheck to paycheck, I was easily pissed off and I was frustrated, and the last thing you wanna hear when you're living paycheck to paycheck is someone asking you for money, especially when the person asking you for money already has a lot of money," added The Rock.
"So I get it, I understand, I never launched a fund before but I'm a quick study, and lesson learned," he concluded.
During an appearance on CBS Mornings, Winfrey admitted that she was surprised by the negative reaction to their fund. She also said she found it frustrating that the backlash "took the focus off of what was the most important thing, which is the people of Maui."
"So this idea came about because I was on the ground, talking to lots of people, trying to figure out how I can best help," Winfrey said. She was spotted and photographed in the immediate aftermath contributing physical goods at shelters.
But, as it turns out, she said that upon speaking to people, she learned that they "really wanted their own agency." Gayle King then helped her out by sharing with her how Dolly Parton helped victims in Gatlinburg, TN after the 2017 wildfires there.
Parton raised money through a concert and then distributed that money directly to families displaced or devastated by the disaster. "I thought, 'Whoa! That's the idea,'" Winfrey said. Partnering with Johnson, they decided to try and follow her lead.
"We thought, because both of us have given to charities our whole lives, that starting the fund with $10 million would be a great idea," she explained. "We'll do what Dolly did, get other people to give money and then we'll put it directly into people's bank accounts."
"I was so excited. I was so excited about it," she continued, "And then I got up the next morning, and I saw all of this vitriol, and I was, like, 'Whoa, what happened here?'"
Nevertheless, the fund persisted and Winfrey said that they have verified 2,200 people to directly receive money. While she's still excited about the idea, the backlash leaves her "sad that we're in this state in our country."
Hardest hit after the August wildfires swept through portions of Maui was the community of Lahaina, which was nearly wiped off the map. FEMA estimates 2,200 buildings were destroyed there while 115 people have been confirmed dead with an additional 66 still missing.