Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is addressing the criticism he faced over asking fans to donate to a Maui relief and recovery fund in the wake of the devastating fires that ravaged the island.
“When we first started the fund, there was some backlash that came from launching [it], and I want to address and acknowledge that backlash right now,” Johnson said in a video he posted to Instagram on Saturday. “I get it, and I completely understand.”
“I could have been better, and next time I will be better,” the actor continued. “And I understand, money ain’t falling out of the sky, and it isn’t growing on trees, and there’s a lot of people out there living paycheck to paycheck. And I get it, and I know what that’s like.”
In August, Johnson announced that he’d teamed with Oprah Winfrey and the pair had started the People’s Fund of Maui. The action star and the media mogul each donated $5 million to start the fund and asked fans to donate if possible.
However, many criticized the pair for asking others for money, and not putting up more of their own to support the fund’s efforts.
“When [I was] living paycheck to paycheck, I was easily pissed off and I was frustrated. And the last thing you want to hear… is someone asking you for money,” Johnson said. “Especially when the person asking you for money already has a lot of money.”
“So I get it, I understand. I’ve never launched a fund before, but I’m a quick study and lesson learned,” he added.
Johnson also shared his appreciation for both those who supported the efforts and those who provided constructive feedback and praised the social media interaction for allowing such open lines of communication.
“That’s one of the greatest things about my social media platform is the transparency we have and the relationship we have,” he said. “If I do something you guys love, let me know… If I do something and you hate it, you let me know.”
Johnson also revealed that many of the survivors of the fires “have started to receive their first round of funds” from the organization.
For more on Johnson’s efforts to help the people of Maui, see the video below.
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