Oprah Winfrey and Paris Hilton face severe criticism for their responses to Maui devastation

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The recent wildfires that devastated the Lahaina area of Maui, Hawaii, brought with it criticism directed towards several celebrities— including Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Nicks and Paris Hilton among others— and their responses to the historic tragedy.

Winfrey, owner of over 1000 acres of land on Maui according to Hawaii News Now, was recently seen giving out supplies to survivors who had taken refuge in a gymnasium. The talk show host was reportedly denied entry initially after she asked to bring her television crew with her.

The television producer addressed the situation in an Instagram post, stating her intent to make a generous donation to assist in the island’s recovery. However, online commenters were not convinced, criticizing her response and the fact that she owned land on the island.

Similar criticisms were levelled towards Nicks, after she shared an Instagram post regarding the wildfires and her time spent on the island over the years. Commenters expressed their disappointment with her, with one remarking that “Native Hawaiians have been asking non-Indigenous people to stop relocating and vacationing there.”

Hilton, meanwhile, faced backlash after being photographed on a Maui beach over the weekend, smiling with her husband Carter Reum with their 8-month-old son. This took place just half an hour away from Lahaina, where 106 fatalities have been reported and 1,300 people remain missing.

In the past few days, regarding Oprah Winfrey, 69, authorities in Maui have provided clarity on what really happened. “To clarify, Oprah was able to visit our shelter and we thank her for instructing media journalists and camera crews to remain outside. We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster,” their recent statement read.

“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.” In a recent Instagram post, Winfrey vowed to make a substantial donation towards helping the island repair the destruction it suffered. People online were fast to rebuke Winfrey for her reaction, and the fact that she holds property on the isle.

“@Oprah you should give back the 870 acres you purchased on Maui in March of this year for $6.6M to the native Hawaiians,” one person commented under her IG video as another wrote: “Oprah you have 1000 acres! Lahaina is 1600 acres. You could give up only half your acreage and provide housing for probably all of the displaced residence. … There’s a simple solution. The land you bought was illegally sold bc it is illegally occupied! This is the right thing to restore justice.”

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