Fact Check

Keanu Reeves Slammed 'Hollywood Elites' for Their 'Shady Role' In Maui Fires?

We've previously fact-checked the quote attributed to Reeves in the video.

Published Sept. 15, 2023

 (Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic)
Image Via Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic
Claim:
Following the August 2023 wildfires in Maui, actor Keanu Reeves accused Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson of "stealing money" via a fundraising effort intended to benefit the wildfires' victims.

On Sept. 10, 2023, the celebrity gossip YouTube channel named PopJuice posted a nearly nine-minute video titled, "Keanu Reeves SLAMS Hollywood Elites For Their SHADY Role In Maui Fires." At the time of this writing, the video had been viewed more than 174,000 times.

The video's thumbnail image claimed actor Keanu Reeves said Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were "stealing money" via a fundraising effort they created to benefit victims of wildfires that ravaged parts of Maui in August 2023. The thumbnail also contained a photo of Winfrey and Johnson standing next to each other during an event to announce the fundraising initiative, the People's Fund of Maui, which, as we previously reported, intended to provide $1,200 per month to victims.

(@popjuice/YouTube)

The claim wasn't true. The video contained no evidence for its supposed claim and was nothing more than clickbait.

In addition to YouTube, the same clip with the alleged quotes about Winfrey and Johnson circulated on TikTok in three separate videos. The first part had over 3.5 million views at the time of this writing. We also found the YouTube video, or a screenshot of the video's thumbnail, on social media platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Rumble.

We could find no evidence that Reeves had spoken publicly about the 2023 Maui wildfires. No reputable publication had reported the actor had commented about what had happened.

We found the only time the video discussed Reeves was at the 7:34 mark, when it displayed a quote about grief and loss attributed to the actor:

'Grief changes shape, but it never ends,' [Reeves] told me. 'People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, 'It's gone, and I'm better.' They're wrong.'

'When the people you love are gone, you're alone,' he added quietly. 'I miss being a part of their life, and them being a part of mine. I wonder what the present would be like if they were here–what we might have done together. I miss all the great things that will never be.'

We've previously fact-checked that quote and found it was correctly attributed to the actor. But the passage was originally published in a 2006 interview with Parade magazine and had nothing to do with the 2023 Maui fires.

The video also contained a claim that actor Jason Momoa had "called out" Oprah for the donation fund. We previously fact-checked this claim and found it was a misinterpretation of an Instagram video Momoa had posted on his official account in August 2023 about scammers impersonating him on the platform. He has publicly supported the People's Fund of Hawaii and reportedly served as a consultant during the fund's creation.

We've also previously fact-checked other false celebrity gossip rumors about the 2023 Maui wildfires, like the false claim that Johnson had "panicked" after Oprah accidentally leaked "lies" he had told about the fires. We found there was no truth to the claim.

Sources

Ibrahim, Nur. "Did Keanu Reeves Say, 'Grief Changes Shape but It Never Ends?'" Snopes, 3 Oct. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/keanu-reeves-grief-changes-shapes/.

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/.

Liles, Jordan. "Dolly Parton Didn't Ask for Fire Victims' Donations, in Contrast with Oprah and The Rock for Maui?" Snopes, 5 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/dolly-parton-fire-donations/.

---. "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/.

Maui Wildfires Archives | Snopes.Com. https://www.snopes.com/tag/maui_wildfires/. Accessed 15 Sept. 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.