Video of crowd booing Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson falsely linked to Maui fire controversy

By: Anurag Baruah
February 19 2024

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Video of crowd booing Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson falsely linked to Maui fire controversy

Screenshot of Facebook post claiming that the video shows Dwayne Johnson getting booed over the Maui fire controversy. (Source: Screenshot/Facebook/Altered by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Johnson was being booed for reasons connected with the wrestling world. The chants neither mentioned ‘Maui’ nor had anything to do with the fires.

Claim ID 25598f5f

What is the claim?

A video recently went viral among Facebook users in the U.K., depicting actor and WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson being booed on stage during an event. The claim suggests that Johnson faced backlash from the audience in Las Vegas, with them purportedly chanting ‘Maui… Maui’, referencing a controversy around the devastating fires in Hawai’i in August 2023.

For context, Johnson and Oprah Winfrey had announced a fund to support people impacted by the deadly fires in Maui on August 8, 2023. However, they faced public backlash after asking people to contribute to the organization, accused of avoiding their social responsibilities. Later, allegations surfaced on social media that Johnson didn't fulfill his promise to support victims of the Maui fires.

However, upon investigation, it was found that in the viral video, Johnson was being booed for a development related to the wrestling world; it had nothing to do with the Maui fires.

What did we find out?

We examined Johnson’s official social media accounts to see if he had addressed the viral video. Subsequently, we came across a statement posted by Johnson on X on February 11, 2024, referencing a post by journalist Nick Sortor that included the viral video with a similar claim connecting the incident to the Maui fire controversy. 

Johnson labeled Sortor’s post as false and clarified in his statement that the moment in the viral video is from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) press conference organized on February 8, 2024, where he is seen turning ‘heel,’ which is wrestling terminology for a villain. He also stated he was “playing it up with the crowd as they boo,” adding that “it’s what they do in the WWE universe, and (they) all love every second of it.” 

Sortor responded to Johnson on February 12, 2024, admitting that Johnson’s statement has some validity.

Next, we checked the official WWE YouTube channel and found a video titled “WrestleMania XL Kickoff: Feb. 8, 2024,” uploaded on February 8, 2024. Though shot from multiple angles, including a zoomed version of the frontal camera, we could discern that the sequence seen in the viral video starts around 49:37 of the YouTube video and ends around 50:37. 

It is evident from this longer video with better audio quality that the crowd was indeed booing Johnson but was also chanting “Cody… Cody”, not ‘Maui Maui’. The chants were in support of Cody Rhodes, an American wrestler who recently won the 2024 Royal Rumble, a professional wrestling event organized annually by the WWE.

A CBS Sports report about this event explained the booing and chanting as the result of what fans saw as The Rock stealing an opportunity earned by Rhodes, with the latter stepping aside for the former on SmackDown.

A Sports Illustrated report from February 8, 2024, also discussed fans being upset about Johnson seemingly taking Rhodes' spot against Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

Johnson and the Maui controversy 

After facing backlash for asking people to contribute to the Maui fund initiated by him and Winfrey, Johnson took to social media later to address concerns. In an Instagram post on October 7, 2023, he admitted that he had never launched a fund before and learned a lesson, besides pointing out that the affected people ‘are now getting their personal funding from The People’s Fund of Maui.’

In his recent X post as well, ‘The Rock’ clarified his stance on the Maui controversy, stating, “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.”

The verdict

It is evident from the longer version of the event video, a segment of which was shown in the viral video, that the crowd was booing and chanting about matters entirely unrelated to the Maui wildfires. Johnson himself has also clarified this, explaining that it was all related to the wrestling world. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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