Some people on the internet are angry at Stevie Nicks for being "tone deaf" to wildfire situation in Hawaii

Burnt property in Lahaina, plus (inset) Stevie Nicks
(Image credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images (Stevie Nicks: Kevin Nixon))

Fleetwood Mac icon Stevie Nicks has been criticised by her own fans after posting what some considered to be a "tone-deaf" message about the recent wildfires in Hawaii. The fires, which razed the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui, have led to to deaths of 96 people.

In an Instagram post, Nicks revealed that she owns a property "15 to 20 minutes" from Lahaina, and that some relatives had been at the address when the fire broke out. 

Nicks 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 describe the difficulties she faced in contacting her niece, before going on to reveal how the town – and the island – inspired Fleetwood Mac.

"There was no way to know that this amazing town that had survived so much for so long would burn down and disappear into the history books," she wrote, "leaving so much sadness, destruction, and death behind it in its wake

“This island, in so many ways, defines Fleetwood Mac and me and our families. Mick [Fleetwood] and I came here in 1978, went up to Kula to look at a huge, beautiful house and stood in front of it listening to the gentle magical wind. He said to me, ‘I will live and die on this island.’ I knew he was telling the truth. John [McVie] also lived here in Maui for a long time – Christine [McVie] never lived here but visited many times.

“My truth was that I wanted a house here just so I could spend time in Lahaina walking the streets; visiting the art galleries – sitting on the rock wall – Most all the opals I wear on my fingers came from a store on Front Street. I hope the sweet lady who owned that store was able to grab all her opals and run. I hope she made it out.”

Many fans were quick to point out that Nicks' post suggested a detachment from the reality on the ground and the suffering of locals, for whom the fires were a devastating event. 

"Oh Stevie, love you but Native Hawaiians lost their homes for generations to come," wrote one. "Your niece, at best, vacation was ruined, this is not what you should’ve posted."

"Honestly, this is very insensitive to native Hawaiians," wrote another. "You are only proving why no one wants rich people living on these islands, sticking up all of their resources."

"Lahaina burned to the ground, and to make the situation worse, my niece’s vacation was cut short?" added a third. "I read this several times to try and find a way to make it not sound so bad but… it sounds so bad. Stevie Nicks, I love you from the bottom of my butt and I know you’re just trying to spread awareness and sharing what Maui means to you and your family, but this doesn’t sound as compassionate as maybe you meant it to." 

Others defended the singer, pointing out that Nicks' message wasn't as self-serving as critics were claiming, while agreeing that she could have relayed a message in a way that was less likely to raise shackles. 

"Stevie has always been charitable," wrote one, "but has never been a citizen of the internet."

Other musicians who own property on Maui include Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Lady Gaga and Mick Fleetwood, whose restaurant and bar in Lahaina was destroyed by the fire.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.