On Aug. 14, 2023, a user named Dom Lucre posted on X, the social media formerly known as Twitter, "BREAKING: The Obamas estate was spared from the Maui fires in Hawaii. Out of all of the destruction in Hawaii not a single blade of grass was burned at the Obama estate."
According to the post's stats, it received more than 1.6 million views and was engaged with tens of thousands of times.
The fire that scourged the island of Maui in early August 2023 was the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.
Here's the truth: Former President Barack Obama and his family do own a home in his birth state of Hawaii. However, that property is located on the island of Oahu, not on Maui, as users on TikTok, X, and Reddit all pointed out. (The Obamas also own properties on Martha's Vineyard and in Washington.)
Obama's estate was spared from the Maui fires because it's on Oahu. pic.twitter.com/AMPS7iDsXf
— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) August 16, 2023
As for the Dom Lucre account and its "breaking" update, its profile showed no labels in the bio or elsewhere that would indicate its tweets were intended as jokes or satire, though the user has been identified as a "troll" at least once in the past.
Further, the post's misleading use of the word "spared" implies that Obama's Hawaiian property was at risk from the Maui wildfires in the first place — which it wasn't — and that there must have been some nefarious why his home didn't burn when so many others did.
Four days before the tweet was posted, Columbia Journalism Review identified the Dom Lucre account as being managed by a "far-right conspiracy theorist."
The CJR article also detailed a recent controversy concerning the user:
X's "zero tolerance" policy on material containing child sexual abuse, last updated in 2020, says that "viewing, sharing, or linking to child sexual exploitation material contributes to the re-victimization of the depicted children" and constitutes one of the platform's "most serious violations." The policy says that the consequence for violation "in the majority of cases is immediate and permanent suspension."
And yet the account of Dom Lucre—a far-right conspiracy theorist whose real name is Dominick McGee—was reinstated by Musk in July, less than a day after Lucre was suspended for sharing a screenshot from a child sex abuse video. (Lucre claims he did this to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.) Soon afterward, Lucre received money from X as part of the platform's new ad-revenue-sharing program.
We reached out to the X account for Dom Lucre to ask about the tweet and will update this story if we receive answers that would be helpful to readers.