Maui Officials Deny Story About Blocking Oprah – Watch

Maui officials have set the record straight following reports that Oprah Winfrey was blocked from entering a shelter for people displaced by wildfires.

The reports, which were first published by TMZ, claimed that Winfrey had been turned away from the shelter because she was not a resident of Maui. However, Maui County officials have denied these claims, saying that Winfrey was never denied entry to the shelter.

The County of Maui posted a message on Sunday on Facebook disputing reports that Winfrey was not allowed to enter a shelter in Wailuku, explaining she was, in fact, permitted entry.

“To clarify, Oprah [Winfrey] was able to visit our shelter and we thank her for instructing media journalists and camera crews to remain outside,” the post read.

“We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster,” it added. “Her visit inside of the shelter today was truly heartwarming and we appreciate her understanding of our policy of having no camera crews or reporters accompanying dignitaries and celebrities in our emergency shelters. Mahalo.”

The former TV talk show host and long-time resident of the island posted a video to Instagram on Sunday talking about donating to help those who have suffered, noting that it’s going to be a “long and difficult process.”

“You know what this week has taught me is that when you don’t know what to do … you do whatever you can,” Winfrey said. “I went to visit one of the big shelters here at the War Memorial [gynmasium] and asked people what it is they needed and then went shopping for some things, some, you know, basic things like towels and sheets and shampoo and other necessities.”

“And at some point, I will make a major donation after all of the smoke and ash have settled here and we figure out what the rebuilding is going to look like,” she added, noting that she had spent time at the shelter meeting “incredible people.”