Fact Check

Tom Hanks Reveals Oprah's 'True Plan' Behind the Maui Wildfires?

"Tom Hanks has stepped forward to shed light on Oprah's genuine motivations and the undisclosed agenda behind the Maui fires," Binge Pop reported.

Published Sept. 21, 2023

Oprah Winfrey with George Stephanopoulos and Arthur C. Brooks discuss "Build The Life You Want" at The 92nd Street Y, New York on September 12, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Image Via Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Claim:
An online video accurately reported that actor Tom Hanks had revealed Oprah Winfrey's "true plan" about her having "orchestrated" the Maui wildfires.

On Sept. 16, 2023, the purported celebrity gossip YouTube channel Binge Pop published a video that claimed Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks had revealed entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey's "true plan" in having "orchestrated" the Maui wildfires that scorched parts of the Hawaiian island just weeks before.

The clip's title read, "Tom Hanks Reveals Oprah's True Plan Behind the Maui Fires."

The video was viewed just over 21,000 times on YouTube. A repost of the same video on TikTok also earned nearly 600,000 views in four days.

This clip's narration, scripting, sequencing and thumbnail image all looked to have been a product of artificial intelligence (AI), video-creation tools.

An online video falsely claimed that Tom Hanks had revealed Oprah Winfrey had a purported true role in the orchestration of the Maui wildfires.Hanks never said the words displayed in the video's thumbnail image.

The video (archived) began as follows:

AI-GENERATED NARRATOR VOICE: In recent days, Oprah Winfrey has been facing a series of significant developments that hint at a hidden narrative unfolding beneath the surface. Adding to these revelations, Tom Hanks has stepped forward to shed light on Oprah's genuine motivations and the undisclosed agenda behind the Maui fires. The information is quite astonishing, so prepare yourself as we delve into the details in the following video.

...

Speculation has arisen about a potential connection between Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey in regards to questionable activities transpiring in Maui. As the residents of Maui wake up to yet another day of devastation caused by the devastating wildfire, which has tragically claimed lives and displaced hundreds of people, there is a growing curiosity about the wealthiest landowners on the island, and their conspicuous silence in the midst of this crisis.

However, Tom Hanks' recent statements are clarifying that he has never been involved with Oprah in any such heinous activities. Instead, he has come forward to reveal her intentions concerning the land in Maui.

The AI-generated narrator also later claimed with no evidence whatsoever that Winfrey herself may have "orchestrated" the blaze.

In sum, the title/assertion of the video was false. The clip never provided evidence that Hanks had said or revealed anything about Winfrey in relation to the Maui wildfires. The video simply spent 10 minutes and 57 seconds presenting baseless conspiracy theories similar to those that can be found in posts on social media and in comments under news articles.

As we've seen with many of these AI-generated videos across multiple celebrity gossip YouTube channels, this clip contained a misleading video title with a mix of old and unrelated news, false claims and other emotionally charged moments that likely were meant to elicit angry responses in the comments. Such videos often end up with hundreds or thousands of comments from users who indicated that they had believed the misleading information presented in the clips.

We previously reported about other misleading and false videos just like this one that also were on the subject on the Maui wildfires, including for actor Jada Pinkett Smith, actor Jason Momoa, an earlier story about Winfrey and actor The Rock, actor Keanu Reeves, another about Hanks, country star Dolly Parton and others.

Sources

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Jason Momoa Accuses Oprah and The Rock of 'Stealing Money from the Poor' via Fundraising?" Snopes, 6 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jason-momoa-maui-fundraiser/.

---. "Keanu Reeves Slammed 'Hollywood Elites' for Their 'Shady Role' In Maui Fires?" Snopes, 15 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/keanu-reeves-maui-fire/.

Liles, Jordan. "Dolly Parton's Charitable Work Was Twisted on TikTok To Diss Other Celebs." Snopes, 11 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/09/11/dolly-parton-tiktok-maui/.

---. "Jada Pinkett Smith 'Panics' as Her 'Sickening' Role in Maui Fires Leaks?" Snopes, 15 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jada-pinkett-smith-maui/.

---. "The Rock Mistakenly Admits 'Shady Role' in Maui Fires with Oprah Winfrey?" Snopes, 5 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-rock-maui-fires/.

---. "The Rock 'Panics' After Lies About Maui Wildfires Were Accidentally Leaked by Oprah?" Snopes, 11 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/rock-panics-maui-oprah/.

---. "Tom Hanks 'Panics' as Oprah Winfrey Reveals His 'Shady Role' in Maui Fires?" Snopes, 1 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hanks-oprah-maui-fires/.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.