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Public Disgusted with Oprah’s Response to Maui Wildfires, Camera Crew Denied Access to Survivor Shelter

It’s sad that this is so true in 2023, but there will undoubtedly be people who saw the devastating and deadly fires raze a portion of the Hawaiian island of Maui down and only saw opportunity. This has been proven demonstrably true with climate alarmists already, but is Oprah Winfrey another person who’s seeing nothing but positive publicity from this tragedy? That’s the question at the heart of a polarizing social media debate right now — where some are thankful for Winfrey’s aid, while others are a tad bit more dubious. To wit, according to The Associated Press, the current death toll of the horrific Lahaina wildfires is 96, but the local government expects that number to go up as recovery efforts make progress. It’s an absolute catastrophe, and you don’t have to be from there to know that the people are hurting, and in pain, and emotionally raw. Given that, how can you blame some of them for casting a cynical eye when someone with the notoriety of Oprah Winfrey shows up with aid? (Worth noting: Winfrey owns quite a bit of acreage on the island of Maui.) Just look at the divided reactions when a clip of Winfrey pledging aid to Maui “once all the smoke and ash has settled” started making the rounds on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “Capitalizing on calamity,” one biting response to the video read: Another X user simply stated: “I don’t trust her.” A couple of the responses seemed to echo a conspiracy theory making the rounds on social media: The Maui wildfires were some sort of government operation to intentionally destroy that land for the sake of acquiring it. To be clear, there is less than zero evidence for this — but that doesn’t mean people aren’t suspicious: It is worth noting that, while the above is still pure conspiracy, a separate AP report noted that locals in Maui are genuinely concerned about affluent outsiders swooping in and pricing out all of the locals. Finally, here’s one X user who said that this was clearly a publicity stunt given the alleged massive camera crew that was trailing Winfrey (more on this momentarily): So, in regard to that last X post about the camera crew, that was actually part of a larger controversy — one where Oprah and crew were allegedly denied access to a shelter for survivors of the wildfires. The County of Maui took to its official Facebook page to quickly clarify what exactly happened: “UPDATE: To clarify, Oprah was able to visit our shelter and we thank her for instructing media journalists and camera crews to remain outside,” the post read. The County of Maui then proceeded to heap praise on Winfrey, a stark contrast from some of the divisive social media rhetoric. “We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster,” the statement continued. “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. Mahalo.” While it’s unclear if these cameras were there at the behest of Winfrey or were there because of her, the media’s presence clearly didn’t sit well with people. Given everything they just went through, and will likely continue to go through as this tragedy is sifted through, can you really blame them? This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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