The decade's most triggering comedy
Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton took some heat from critics after reports circulated that she was vacationing on Maui — just 30 minutes away from the devastated historic town of Lahaina, where nearly 100 have been confirmed dead in last week’s wildfires.
While sources close to Hilton told The Daily Mail that the hotel heiress had been helping out by delivering supplies to shelters while she vacationed on Maui with husband Carter Reum and their son Phoenix, many felt that she was “tone deaf” for remaining on the island — after authorities had called for tourists to leave the island if they could while locals attempted to manage recovery and clean-up efforts.
“The same waters that our people just died in three days ago are the same waters the very next day these visitors — tourists — were swimming in,” one angry local told the BBC in an interview.
And while the main reason for keeping tourists away is to streamline efforts to make sure that locals are able to get the assistance they need without distraction, additional reports from the ground suggest that visitors could potentially be putting themselves at risk by staying.
According to a report published Monday by The Daily Mail, despite police presence in Lahaina, burned and evacuated homes have been looted and locals have been robbed at gunpoint in the days since the deadly blaze – even as search and recovery efforts continue and the death toll rises.
Matt Robb, who co-owns The Dirty Monkey bar in Lahaina, said, “There’s some police presence. There’s some small military presence, but at night people are being robbed at gunpoint.
He went on to say that looters had been seen “going through houses,” adding, “So where is the support? I don’t think our government and our leaders, at this point, know how to handle this or what to do.”
Local police said that they had not received any calls regarding looting, but other local business owners told similar tales to Robb’s.
And Paris Hilton was not the only celebrity to take backlash over the wildfires. Fleetwood Mac alum Stevie Nicks also sparked the ire of critics who felt she was focusing too much on herself when she posted about her own Maui home — which was not burned — and her niece’s vacation that was cut short when fire ravaged the island.
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“Lahaina is not gone ~ It is just away ~ With Aloha, Stevie Nicks,” the singer wrote. “As I am sure you have heard – the island, Maui, where I own a house I have been staying at since the 80s – and the small village, city, most magical place on earth, Lahaina, burned to the ground over the last few days. And to make the situation worse my young niece, her husband, and their little boy had just arrived for a very needed vacation before she started up her school year (on her way to becoming a psychologist) for 10 days. They had one and a half days of fun and then — the fire started.”
Nicks went on to speak of her opal rings, saying that she bought the stones from a store in Lahaina and hoped the store owner had been able to get to safety.
But critics felt that Nicks was making the tragedy about herself, accusing her in the comments section of failing to donate money to the locals whose lives had been utterly destroyed — or at least tell others where they could do so.