Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson pledged to donate $10 million to start a fund to help Maui residents who lost everything in wildfires.
Winfrey and Johnson recorded a video begging Americans to donate whatever they could afford. They said the cash would be distributed directly to those in need.
Winfrey, who is worth $2.8 billion, was roasted online by angry working class Americans.
One person wrote: “Girl you got some nerve asking us working class people who can barely afford to put food on the table for our families to donate… why don’t you ask your millionaire/billionaire buddies to help.”
Another person said, “A billionaire and a millionaire asking YOU to donate YOUR money?”
Winfrey appeared on CBS Mornings on Tuesday to promote her new book.
During the interview, Winfrey was asked about the backlash to the fund online.
“I will say this. I came out of this experience with so much more compassion for young kids, because I was thinking, what if I didn’t really know who I am? It will take you out,” Winfrey said. “So all of the online attacks, lies, conspiracy theories, really took the focus off of what was the most important thing, which is the people of Maui.”
She continued: “I was so excited. I was so excited about it, and then I got up the next morning, and I saw all of this vitriol, and I was, like, ‘Whoa, what happened here?'”
“This is what I want to say. I want to say that, in the beginning, so many people were calling, asking, ‘Where do we give our money to?’ So I thought, I’m going to give people a place to give it,” Oprah explained.
“We’re going to create something and I still think it’s a really strong idea. Dolly Parton was right. Putting money directly in the hands of the people is a significant thing, and the model that has been created, I will say that as of today, 2,200 people have been cleared and verified, and those people are gonna get a notice from the People’s Fund of Maui and are gonna have the money put into their account,” Oprah said.
She added the backlash made her, “sad that we’re in this state in our country.”
Watch the interview below.