As Dwayne Johnson turned heel at the recent WrestleMania 40 kickoff press conference and was booed by the audience, a wild accusation was made against him and American talk show host and television producer Oprah Winfrey .
The crowd chanting “Cody” (referring to Cody Rhodes, whose spot at WrestleMania XL in the main event against Roman Reigns was previously “taken” by The Rock in the storyline) was turned into a baffling allegation that WWE , aged 51. The star was forced to respond.
He issued a statement against the ill-informed stance of internet personality and journalist Nick Sortor, who accused Johnson and Winfrey of promising “tens of millions” in aid to Maui wildfire victims through their joint fundraiser, the People’s Fund of Maui, which launched in 2017. in late August 2023, but without following suit with promises such as “Many victims have still not received a penny.”
Sortor, including an excerpt from the press conference, falsely stated on Jumanji The booing of alumni by WWE fans during Thursday’s event was their way of expressing their disapproval over the matter. He further alleged that the crowd chanted: ‘Maui.’
In his response, Dwayne Johnson highlighted the context of the distorted meaning attributed to the images and characterized the original post as being “toxic waste and fake clickbait. » The Hollywood star prefaced that he generally refrains from responding to such misleading accounts, but would object to using a tragic event in Hawaii to sensationally attract attention.
Dwayne Johnson’s Scathing Response to Allegation of Broken Maui Relief Fund Promises
The People’s Fund of Maui has already faced widespread criticism for urging people to donate money to help those displaced in Lahaina and Kula by the Maui wildfires.
Although the two celebrities who started the initiative donated $5 million each to launch the campaign, many have argued that wealthy individuals like Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson could have effortlessly contributed more to the fund (given their staggering net worth) rather than relying on those who may not have similar means to support the cause.
This issue was addressed by Winfrey and Johnson last year, with the latter promising to “do better.”
Now, months later, a critical accusation has been made against Johnson, where journalist Nick Sortor (via outfits” made to victims of the Maui wildfires. . Sortor further claimed: “Oprah and Dwayne Johnson promised tens of millions to Maui wildfire victims, but many victims still haven’t received a penny.”
Criticizing the allegation of not following through on the offer of millions in aid to those in need through the People’s Fund of Maui, The Rock prefaced (via X):
“I usually refrain from responding to toxic and false bullshit like this because I hate worthy bullshit with a response, but when you use the tragic events in Hawaii to draw attention to yourself, I will not stay not silent.”
He then explained the distorted and misleading meaning given to the clip from the WrestleMania 40 launch press event, describing how he had to play a “heel” character (in professional wrestling parlance, the bad guy). And that’s why the fans were booing. Dwayne Johnson said:
“This moment you’re referring to came from our @WWE press conference last Thursday, where I turned to ‘heel’ – wrestling-speak for the bad guy. I play with our audience while they boo. This is what we do in our WWE Universe. And we all love every second of it.
He also refuted allegations against him and the co-launched campaign for failing to provide financial aid to those in need following the early August 2023 wildfires in Hawaii. Providing the facts and figures, Johnson revealed:
“Our People’s Fund of Maui has already DELIVERED over $50 MILLION [sic] to more than 8,000 survivors affected by the fires. And I am deeply grateful to have been the major funders.
In his statement, he ultimately affirmed his solidarity with the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands. He also urged journalist Nick Sortor to raise awareness by taking positive action instead of relying on negativity that uses a serious issue for toxic sensationalism.
Dwayne Johnson urged people to use their voices on social media to raise awareness
After condemning the unfounded allegation and providing facts and figures to shed light on the context, Dwayne Johnson encouraged netizens to use social media platforms to raise awareness to help effectively combat suffering. He also urged Nick Sortor, who turned the backdrop into harmless images and replayed in the WWE storyline, to refrain from spreading misleading information and focus on helping him. “in an uplifting way.”
But first, being of Samoan descent, he helped shine a light on the resilience shown by the Hawaiian Polynesian people, who are currently struggling to get back on their feet amidst difficulties:
“Hawaii is where I grew up, where I raise my children year-round, and where my ancestors are buried. These are my Polynesian people, and these are OUR American people. You can’t imagine how much they still struggle daily to rebuild their lives and take care of each other. Our Poly-American people are as resilient as people come, and they will pick themselves up and get back on their feet.
He finally concluded, “It takes so much effort to be negative and create and spread bullshit – but when you spread positivity, kindness and lead by example, you can really impact lives.”
Previously, when the People’s Fund of Maui faced a lot of backlash, Dwayne Johnson acknowledged it in an Instagram video last October.
Johnson stated that “thousands and thousands of survivors and families” had received the first wave of monthly checks from the joint fundraiser. The relief effort introduced by Winfrey and Johnson helps all adult residents living in the affected area who have been displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula, who, upon request, are eligible for $1,200 per month .
As this was his first time launching a fund, the WWE star then said he understood the source of the criticism, promising to strive to do better.