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Dwayne Johnson addresses Maui fund controversy: 'I could have been better and next time, I will be better'

Actor and former wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has finally addressed the backlash he received after launching a Maui wildfire recovery fund in August with Oprah Winfrey. The fund was intended to help those who lost their homes during the wildfires, which was estimated to have killed at least 115 people.

Despite pledging a total of US$10 million (S$13.7 million), Johnson and Winfrey attracted criticism after asking their followers to donate money into the fund.

Critics argued that as the two celebrities had some of the highest net worth in the industry, they could have simply donated more instead of asking the general public for help.

On Sunday (Oct 8), Johnson uploaded a video on his Instagram page, giving an update on the fund’s payouts and the backlash he faced.

He said: “I have some great news. Some awesome news, actually, that I’m very grateful to share with you guys and the news is this: The thousands and thousands of survivors, the families, they have now, over the past couple of weeks, started to receive their first round of funds. They’re receiving their money.”

He then went on to address the backlash, saying: “I get it and I completely understand. And I could have been better and next time, I will be better. I understand money ain’t falling out of the sky, it’s not growing on trees. And there’s a lot of people out there who (are) living pay cheque to pay cheque. I get it and I know what that’s like. I’ve lived pay cheque to pay cheque.

“I don’t wanna speak for everybody; I’ll speak for myself but I feel it’s connected. When (I was) living pay cheque to pay cheque, I was easily pissed off and I was frustrated. And the last thing you wanna hear when you are living from pay cheque to pay cheque is someone asking you for money, especially when the person asking you for money already has a lot of money.”

He ended the video by saying he has “never launched a fund before but (he is) a quick study” and thanked his followers for giving their feedback.

“When we’re down and we rise back up together, we become one. When we become one, we become stronger.”

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