Maui fires and the conspiracy theories involving billionaires and celebs

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes as fires wiped away the historic city of Lahaina. Picture: Pixabay

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes as fires wiped away the historic city of Lahaina. Picture: Pixabay

Published Aug 15, 2023


Since news broke of wildfires sweeping through parts of Maui, Hawaii, there have been a number of theories floating around, involving high-profile tech billionaires and celebrities, over what started the fires in the context of the land ownership issue, which many native Hawaiians have been vocal about, according to American media.

There have also been reports that so-called investors were calling victims, who had to evacuate their homes, asking to buy their land.

What we know so far:

Several wildfires broke out in Maui after a hurricane passed through southern parts of Hawaii. It was reported that conditions resulted in dry, gale-force winds.

Authorities have claimed, but not proven, that power lines may have been knocked over, starting the fires, the Washington Post reported.

As of Monday, the death toll had risen to 99.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes as fires wiped away the historic city of Lahaina.

Around 880 hectares of land in Lahaina were burnt, according to Maui Country.

Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 19th century.

It is understood that many high-profile celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga, and tech billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Peter Thiel, have second homes in the areas affected by the fires.

These individuals have since become the target of conspiracy theories, which revolve around a plot to steal the land from native Hawaii residents and put it in the hands of the ‘rich and elite’.

Matt Wallace, on Twitter, is one of those people who went after Winfrey, claiming that there was a much more sinister plot behind the fires.

Nick Sorter has also spoken out on Twitter about the US authorities not being transparent about the Maui fires.

Both Sorter and Wallace have announced they will be visiting Hawaii to uncover more details.

But others have posted their own evidence dispelling conspiracy theories involving Oprah, saying she was on the ground, helping in Maui.

"Oprah has literally been on the ground helping people. She has been providing cots, pillows, toiletries, and more to shelters, like this one in Wailuku, Hawaii, where she can also be seen helping out," Ed Krassenstein said in a tweet attached to a video of Oprah inside a hall.

The video is time stamped August 14, 2023.

Oprah owns about 1,000 acres on the island, according to Architectural digest.

Oprah declined to comment on the wildfires in Maui, the Washington Post said.

Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez has been vocal about the couple’s stance on the wildfires.

It was also reported that Bezos had pledged money to help the victims.

Over the weekend, a video posted to a Hawaii Instagram page called Kakoo_haleakala featured a woman talking about natives getting calls from investors who want to buy their land.

“If you are a victim and they are calling you, please get their name and business name so we can put them on blast…

“I am so frustrated to hear from families I know personally that have gotten calls from realtors and investors who want to buy their homes,” the woman said.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, was also slammed online for his “no comment” stance, that was seen during a Fox News broadcast.

In the clip, a journalist can be heard asking Biden: “Any comment on the rising death toll in Maui?”

Biden responds: “No, no comment.”

The Hawaii fire is reported to be one of the worst experienced in the US in decades.

Governor Josh Green said the death toll is likely to rise as emergency operations continue to clear up the affected areas, AP reported.

Police in the area said that identifying the deceased was difficult as the fires were severe. Only three out of the 99 deceased reported so far have been identified through fingerprints.

Thousands of pets have also gone missing.