CNN was duped into helping raise $230,000 for a woman claiming to be the mother of three young children and feared being evicted amid the federal eviction moratorium. The cable news network had to issue a correction saying the woman is not the mother of the kids featured in the story.
Nick Watt of CNN interviewed Dasha Kelly last week for a story regarding the recent eviction moratorium lapse. During his report, Watt referred to the three children as “her little girls.” The reporter noted they could all end up on the street as CNN’s electronically generated caption read, “Mom braces for eviction.”
During the report, Watt explained that Kelly lost her job because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, she can reportedly no longer afford child care, and her “little girls” were shown during CNN’s segment, Fox News reported.
“Dasha Kelly has started a GoFundMe page to try and cover that rent, $2,000. It’s a Hail Mary, she says she’s praying for a miracle, hoping for a miracle,” Watt told CNN viewers.
"You know it's happening when we start talking about it… it's bringing all of my emotions."
Dasha Kelly is a single mom facing eviction over unpaid rent.
If you'd like to help, the family has set up a GoFundMe here: https://t.co/g7j4QuRk4b pic.twitter.com/FFYIjDvVe2
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) August 2, 2021
And then the truth came out. Kelly, who was portrayed as a “single mom” at the outset of the story, isn’t the mother of any of the children used throughout CNN’s reporting, according to Fox.
“Update: After CNN aired a story about her potential eviction, Dasha Kelly clarified to CNN that she is not the mother of the three children featured in the story. CNN has verified she takes care of the children in her home for periods of time. She says she originally described herself to CNN as a mother because she considers herself to be like one to them,” a correction added to CNN’s online report said.
“My name is Kelly and I have 3 daughters living in Nevada,” Kelly wrote in the description of the GoFundMe, according to Fox. “We were maintaining just fine before this pandemic hit. Now we are suffering. We do have EBT for food, and also applied for Chap. However, they do not assist immediately. We owe $1,900 for rent alone not including utilities. I will figure out utilities by pawning a few things. As you all know it is entirely still to (sic) hot to be homeless. My daughter’s [sic] are aged 5, 6, and 8. Please help with anything you can.”
The CNN-promoted GoFundMe—shared on their social media accounts—ended up raising over $230,000. Furthermore, before CNN was finished pursuing the story, they brought Kelly and the three small children back for an emotional follow-up interview alongside progressive, cop-hating Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.
When I say your Congresswoman loves you, this is what I mean.
Kelly, I may not be your representative, but I love you and I will not stop working to make sure you and every person in our country has what they need to thrive. pic.twitter.com/qoDjn0xGnk
— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) August 5, 2021