“To clarify, Oprah was able to visit our shelter and we thank her for instructing media journalists and camera crews to remain outside,” the County of Maui said in a statement posted on Facebook. “We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster.”
The statement continued, “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.”
Reports say the media mogul along with news crews with CBS News travelled to the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku when staff members told her she would not be allowed in. The 69-year-old Mississippi native was allowed to spend time with survivors after being told that camera crews must wait outside, reports say.
“Out of respect for those who have come to seek safety and shelter at emergency shelters, our policy remains that no media are given access,” read the statement after Winfrey and the camera crew were not given access to go inside the facility. “We welcome Oprah to continue to uplift our community’s spirit and give her aloha to victims of the tragic disaster and appreciate her understanding of our policy of no camera crews or reporters in our emergency shelters. Mahalo.”
Winfrey owns property in Maui and is a part-time resident there, Deadline reports. After the wildfires spread, she had “visited the shelter days before to visit the survivors of the wildfires asking them what they needed,” according to Deadline.
At the time of this writing, Winfrey has yet to respond to the report.