Popular talk show host, actress and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey, is under fire for allegedly hiring firefighters to protect her Maui property. The allegation is raised against the billionaire by a certain woman in a TitTok video that since gone viral. But did Winfrey actually hire firefighters to safeguard her home from the wildfire? You will get to know in this article.
In early August, Hawaii was hit with a devastating wildfire which quickly spread across thousands of hectors of land. The fire occurred predominantly on the island of Maui. It first started in the West Maui Mountains and spread out as a result of strong winds. Official figures from the Hawaiian authorities indicate that the fire destroyed more than 10,000 homes and business. In addition, some 115 people lost their lives. More than 380 people remain missing.
Authorities are still investigating the incident to reveal its cause. However, a lot of residents of the island believe the fire was caused by power lines that came down during strong winds. Some of these residents have since initiated legal proceedings against Hawaiian Electric, the largest electricity provider in the state.
During the fire, state authorities closed highways to traffic. Power and water supply were significantly disrupted. Thousands of people were also evacuated from areas that were hit and also, from areas that were dimmed to be in the path of the fire.
Meanwhile, recovery efforts are currently ongoing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided millions of dollars in aid to victims of the disaster.
Did Oprah Winfrey hire private firefighters to protect her Maui home?
Allegations are flying on various social media platforms that Winfrey sought the services of firefighters to keep her property safe from wildfires. The former host of The Oprah Winfrey Show has a mansion in Maui. The property seats on more than 2000 acres of land in Kula district.
However, to the surprise of many, the wildfires did not come close to Winfrey’s property, even though properties close to hers, suffered the blaze. This sparked conspiracy theories among residents, with most of them believing that she paid firefighter to protect her house.
Some also accuse the philanthropist of hiring a security team to keep victims away from her house so that they would not shelter there.
In a video circulating on various social media platforms, one woman said “instead of taking some of that land and housing even a small portion of those displaced people, you hired a private security team to keep them off your land.”
But is the allegation true? As at the time of writing this article, Winfrey has not commented on the issue. Therefore, we cannot confirm whether Oprah Winfrey hired firefighters to starve off the fires from her mansion or not. But whenever she comes out to comment on the allegations, we will update you.
Was it only Winfrey’s property that was spared by the wildfires?
No, the fires did not spare only Winfrey’s property. Other several properties owned by notable people have been spared. Also, the fires spared houses of many other ordinary residents of the island. But Winfrey’s property is what caught people’s attention because of her personality as a renowned businesswoman and billionaire.
Which other famous people own properties in Maui?
Aside Winfrey, other famous persons own properties on the island. Shockingly, the wildfires did not destroy or cause damages to their properties too. Some of these people include:
- Jeff Bezos
- Morgan Freeman
- Lady Gaga
- Will Smith
- Julia Roberts
- Bill Gates
What Winfrey is doing about the Maui fire disaster
Few days ago, the billionaire and actor Dwayne Johnson, launched The People’s Fund of Maui to help raise money for the victims. The duo launched the fund with initial donation of $10 million. The fund is under the auspices of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Residents above 18 years who lost their primary residence to the fires, will receive $1,200 per month.
In a statement, Winfrey said she has “been meeting with people throughout the community who were impacted by the fires over the last few weeks, asking what they most needed and how I could be of service,” Oprah said. She continued that the main thing she kept hearing was “their concern over how to move forward under the immense financial burden of rebuilding their life. The community has come together in so many wonderful ways, and my intention is to support those impacted as they determine what rebuilding looks like for them.”
However, many criticise her support. The woman who accused Oprah Winfrey of hiring private firefighters and security team to protect her Maui property, also lambasted her for calling on the public to donate to the fund.
According to her, most Americans cannot pay rent at the moment. So, Winfrey should not ask them to contribute to her fund. She believes the former talk show host and other billionaires who own properties in Maui, should come together to rebuild the whole place.
“You’re so concerned about Maui that instead of taking what would amount to a year’s salary for you and four or five of your billionaire friends, which could be used to rebuild the entire place in a matter of months, you’re jumping on social media and asking the American public, most of whom can’t afford to pay their rent right now to do it for you,” the woman said in the viral video.