Dwayne Johnson railed against journalist Nick Sortor on X (formerly Twitter) over “toxic, false clickbait garbage” after the latter framed Johnson’s appearance at a recent WWE press conference in a way that called out the superstar’s relief efforts in Maui. A video from the WWE event showed Johnson getting booed by the crowd. Sortor claimed that was because the crowd was calling out Johnson for not delivering on his promise to provide financial relief to Maui in the wake of last year’s wildfires.
“Dwayne Johnson promised TENS OF MILLIONS to the victims of the Maui fires, but many victims still have not seen a dime,” Sortor wrote. “It looks like the audience is fully AMERICA FIRST and is demanding The Rock and Oprah follow through with their commitment to take care of the people of Lahaina. The crowd started booing and chanting ‘MAUI! MAUI! MAUI!” MAKE IT HAPPEN!'”
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Last August, Johnson and Oprah launched the People’s Fund of Maui to support those impacted by the wildfires. The duo made an initial donation of $10 million, but they soon faced backlash on social media for not contributing even more of their personal wealth to the cause. Johnson even admitted during the controversy that “I could have been better, and next time, I will be better.” But he wasn’t going to stand down in the face of Sortor’s twisting of recent events.
“I typically refrain from responding to toxic, false clickbait garbage like this because I hate dignifying bullshit with a response, but when you use Hawaii’s tragic events to draw attention to yourself I won’t stay quiet,” Johnson wrote on X. “This moment you’re referring to is from our WWE press conference this past Thursday where I turned ‘heel’ – wrestling parlance for bad guy. I’m playing it up with our crowd as they boo. It’s what we do in our WWE universe, and we all love every second of it.”
Johnson went on to note that Sortor was wrong on two accounts. The audience was not booing because Johnson did not provide promised relief to Maui, nor did Johnson never provide said relief.
“Our People’s Fund of Maui has already DELIVERED over $50 MILLION DOLLARS to over 8,000 survivors who were affected by the fires, and I’m grateful to the bone that we’ve been the primary funders,” Johnson wrote. “Nick, instead of posting bullshit like this that you know is false — I encourage you to post something positive for Hawaii, for our Polynesian American people. Or actually take positive action and come to Hawaii to help out in an uplifting way. I’m in Hawaii now, and I guarantee you, you’ll get great content that can actually make a difference in people’s lives. Genuinely.”
Johnson then apologized to “all our Poly/Hawaiian Ohana of Maui for shining light on this toxicity as you struggle through tough times.”
Sortor admitted in a follow-up post on X that Johnson’s explanation for the booing seemed “to have some validity,” but he decided not to remove his original post because he wants “to provide context to the ongoing dispute between the two of us regarding funding for Maui.”
“I’m willing to hear the Rock out, and I’m hoping we can work together to force the government to actually provide meaningful aid to these victims,” Sortor added.
Johnson encouraged his following to “put our energy and our online platforms into lifting people up,” adding: “It takes so much effort to be negative, and create and spread bullshit — but when you spread positivity, kindness, and lead by example you can really impact lives.”
Read Johnson’s full post responding to Sortor in the tweet below.
I typically refrain from responding to toxic, false clickbait garbage like this because I hate dignifying bullshit with a response, but when you use Hawaii’s tragic events to draw attention to yourself I won’t stay quiet.
This moment you’re referring to is from our @WWE press… https://t.co/z76m1Q7w1N
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 11, 2024
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