No Photo-Ops This Time: Oprah’s TV Crew Denied Access to Shelter Housing Maui Fire Survivors

Screenshot: Hawaii News Now/Youtube

The wildfires that ravaged the Hawaiian island of Maui left behind a trail of destruction, impacting countless lives and leaving survivors in need of support and assistance.

During this devastating situation, Oprah Winfrey, a part-time resident of Maui who owns some 1,000 acres of land, attempted to ‘exploit’ this incident by visiting a shelter for wildfire survivors. However, her TV camera crew was denied entry on Sunday “out of respect for survivors seeking safety.”

Oprah Winfrey, along with a CBS camera crew, arrived at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku to visit survivors of the wildfires. However, they were turned away at the door due to the shelter’s no-media policy.

“Out of respect for those who have come to seek safety and shelter at emergency shelters, our policy remains that no media are given access,” County of Maui said in a statement per Daily Mail.

The incident quickly gained attention, with reports suggesting that Oprah had been denied access to the shelter.

The County of Maui issued a statement on social media, clarifying the situation and expressing gratitude to Oprah for abiding by their policy and instructing the media crew to remain outside.

The statement read:

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.

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.


Despite the County’s policy of not allowing media access to the war memorial shelter, Winfrey was interviewed by the BBC inside the same shelter. The interview took place on Thursday when she was there to hand out supplies to survivors, including essentials such as pillows, diapers, shampoo, and more.

What remains unclear is why the BBC was granted permission to record Winfrey at the shelter on Thursday, while the CBS news crew that accompanied her on Sunday morning was turned away.

Online users commended the County for standing up against celebrities allegedly “exploiting” the tragic event for publicity stunts.

“Thank goodness for this!! We are going through a crisis, Maui doesn’t need to encourage publicity stunts,” one Facebook user wrote.

“Those who help do so not looking for recognition but because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe she can learn from the people helping the people.”

“Rightfully so. If Oprah wants come that’s great! Put the cameras away and do something out of the goodness of your heart. Not for clout. Do a message after and let people know what you saw and what the need is. ASK people if they wish to be filmed or interviewed outside AFTER. Basic common respect.”

“Democrats never let a tragedy go to waste. Alway good PR out of the badness & sadness.”

“Good on them! this isn’t about “look at me! look at how good I am” real charity doesn’t need a camera crew.”

“What is it with celebrities going to tragedy sites with professional camera setup? Are you a journalist? She really passed that trait to her prodigy meghan markle who used tragedy as photo ops.”

Earlier this year, the Maui residents were outraged about Oprah buying excessive lands in the area.


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Jim Hᴏft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.

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