A purported celebrity gossip YouTube channel named Spill Today made headlines on September 4 when it alleged that actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith had played a “disturbing role” in profiting from the Maui wildfires that had recently devastated parts of the Hawaiian island, as reported by Snopes.
The video in question bore the title, “Jada Pinkett [Smith] PANICS as Her SHOCKING Involvement in Maui Fires EXPOSED.”
It’s worth noting that this video garnered just over 11,000 views on YouTube. However, it was a TikTok repost of the same content that truly gained momentum, amassing nearly 2 million views in approximately one week.
Many aspects of this TikTok clip, including its narration, scripting, sequencing, and thumbnail image, appeared to have been generated through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and video creation tools.
CBS NEWS CLIP: Now, some residents say they’ve been receiving calls from wealthy real estate investors and developers who are trying to purchase their fire-ravaged land.
AI-GENERATED NARRATOR VOICE: It appears the recent wildfires that occurred in Lahaina have now exposed how Hollywood elites have been scamming land from Hawaiian residents for years. Apparently, this has continued to happen despite the residents claiming they have no plans of selling their lands.
LOCAL RESIDENT NEWS CLIP: Lahaina is not for sale.
NARRATOR: Meanwhile, Hawaiian authorities have warned these elites against coercing the residents to sell their land.
HAWAII GOV. JOSH GREEN: Please don’t approach them with an offer to buy land. Please don’t approach their families to tell them that they’re going to be better off.
NARRATOR: Among the celebrities who have allegedly benefitted from this real estate scheme is none other than the controversial couple, Will and Jada [Pinkett] Smith.
WSJ’S NEWS HUB CLIP: Remember we’ve got Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith selling their home. There’s a lot of secrecy about the selling of this home which is why the pictures aren’t quite as close as we normally would have got.
The reality of the situation, however, was quite different from the sensational title. The video failed to provide any substantial evidence linking Will Smith or Jada Pinkett Smith to any benefits arising from the Maui wildfires.
In truth, the video merely mentioned that the Smith family had sold two properties on the entirely separate Hawaiian island of Kauai in 2011 and 2017, years before the tragic wildfires on Maui occurred.