Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Oprah Winfrey announced a fund to help Maui residents.
They faced backlash as viewers asked why wealthy celebrities were asking ordinary people for money.
Some fans jumped to the defense of the duo and pointed out they were just trying to help.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Oprah Winfrey were met with significant backlash when they asked people for donations towards a fundraiser for those affected by the Maui wildfires, as many questioned why they didn't contribute more themselves. But now some fans are coming to their defense as they feel the pair were unfairly vilified for trying to help.
Throughout August, wildfires damaged or destroyed thousands of structures in Maui, Hawaii, and led to the death of 115 people, CNN reported. While the fire in Lahaina has been fully contained, fires in the areas of Olinda and Kula have been 90% and 95% contained respectively, according to a statement published by the County of Maui on September 5.
On August 31, Johnson and Winfrey took to Instagram and TikTok accounts to announce the People's Fund of Maui, which they said they created inspired by Dolly Parton's philanthropy to raise money for those directly impacted by the wildfires, and appealed to viewers to donate funds.
A lengthy caption on Instagram stated each adult resident who was "displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula is eligible to receive $1,200 per month to help them through this period of recovery" and provided a link for those directly impacted to apply for the funds.
"We are honored to start this campaign with $10 million dollars and ask for your help in donating to those who have lost their homes. We thank you in advance for your contribution," the caption went on to read.
The video was met with significant backlash as tens of thousands of comments across the social media posts called out the wealthy pair for asking regular people to provide additional funds, and questioned why they couldn't ask their celebrity friends instead, or donate more money from their own substantial wealth.
According to Forbes, Winfrey had a net worth of $2.5 billion, and Johnson, the world's highest-paid actor, was worth $270 million, which meant their $10 million donation represents less than 0.5% of their combined estimated net worth of $2.77 billion, Insider previously reported.
While the largely critical comments beneath one of Johnson's Instagram posts speaking on the fundraiser are still visible, comments beneath Winfrey's TikTok and Instagram posts on the subject appear to have been switched off. The criticism continued on X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok in the days following the announcement of the fundraiser.
A Facebook post published by Insider received 3,300 comments, many of which echoed similar points of criticism, however some came to the defense of the duo, and suggested they were only trying to help.
"They donated 10 million! I don't understand why there is such negative reaction to this, but I must emphasize that being wealthy and accomplished doesn't obligate someone to distribute their wealth," one Facebook user wrote.
"Some of these comments are downright selfish. They have already donated.. they have set up a charity to help the people rebuild their lives. Demanding they give half their money when you won't even donate £1 grow up," another user wrote.
On Instagram, multiple users pointed out the pair were doing their part by using their platforms and had at least contributed a portion of their personal wealth to the initiative.
"They are spreading the word and asking others to donate as well as donating themselves.. nobody is saying you have to donate if you don't have the money.. stop the dramatics please," an Instagram user wrote and received 160 likes.
"Why everyone just thinks bad of others is beyond me. If you don't want to help, don't try to badmouth those who are helping. Lahaina folks are still in limbo and suffering. Your negativity impacts more than you think!" a further user wrote and received 44 likes.
Neither Winfrey nor Johnson appears to have addressed the controversy, and neither immediately responded to a request for comment from Insider.
Read the original article on Insider