Oprah Winfrey is breaking her silence on the criticism she faced after launching a charity fund with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to aid Maui wildfire victims. The media mogul and actor each contributed $5 million to kickstart the People's Fund of Miami, aimed at directly assisting victims of the devastating wildfires, Toofab reports.

Winfrey, whose net worth is estimated at $2.8 billion, and Johnson, with a net worth of around $800 million, faced social media backlash for seeking public contributions, given their considerable wealth. Fans questioned why they expected others to contribute when they could have funded the initiative entirely themselves.

During an appearance on CBS Mornings alongside co-author Arthur C. Brooks to promote their book “Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier,” Winfrey addressed the online criticism.

She admitted the negative reactions surprised her and expressed frustration that it shifted focus away from helping the people of Maui. Winfrey said the idea to start the fund stemmed from her conversations with locals on the ground and her desire to assist in the aftermath of the wildfires.

“We thought, because both of us have given to charities our whole lives, that starting the fund with $10 million would be a great idea,” Oprah Winfrey explained. “We'll do what Dolly did, get other people to give money, and then we'll put it directly into people's bank accounts.”

Despite the backlash, Winfrey confirmed that they have identified 2,200 individuals to receive direct financial assistance through the fund. She remains enthusiastic about the initiative but expressed sadness about the state of public discourse in the country, which often veers toward negativity and misinformation.