Dwayne Johnson via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon YouTube, screenshot

XFL owner and celebrity Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in collaboration with Oprah Winfrey, established the People’s Fund for Maui to support victims of the August 2023 wildfires. Despite their combined initial donation of $10 million, they faced criticism, with some suggesting that they should contribute more given their wealth, and that the expectation for regular working people to donate during economic hardships like what we’re seeing today was tone-deaf.

Dwayne Johnson via ESPN YouTube, screenshot

“When we first launched the fund, there was some backlash that came with launching the fund, and I want to address that backlash,” Johnson said in a video message he posted to his Instagram. “I get it, and I completely understand, and I could have been better. And next time, I will be better.”

Johnson added that he understands that “money ain’t falling out of the sky, and it’s not growing on trees,” as well as recognizing that many Americans today are forced to live “paycheck to paycheck.”

“I get it. I know what it’s like. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck,” he continued. “When you are living paycheck to paycheck… the last thing you want to hear is someone asking you for money, especially when the person asking you for money already has a lot of money.”


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The devastating Maui fires that broke out this summer destroyed huge swaths of land. While the precise cause of the fires is still under investigation, they led to evacuations, road closures, and damage to infrastructure, particularly affecting the area around Lahaina.

The community rallied to support those affected through donations and volunteer efforts, though sadly, some of these donations have not made it to the victims. The fires posed a serious challenge to the local fire departments and necessitated a coordinated response to mitigate the damage and protect the residents of Maui.

In a caption for the video message, Johnson emphasized his genuine connection with fans and his value for their honest feedback. While he says he was new to establishing funds, he assured fans of his adaptability and gratitude.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson via ESPN YouTube

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Johnson concluded by sharing that thousands of survivors have started receiving funds, emphasizing the emotional significance of the assistance.

“Thousands and thousands of survivors, the families, have now, over the past couple of weeks, started to receive their first round of funds. They’re receiving their money, and I gotta tell you, it’s been the most gratifying and moving thing.”

Do you believe Johnson’s sincerity or do you think he’s trying to cover himself? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.

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