CNN recently promoted the story of a "mom" of three young children who was nervous about being evicted amid the federal eviction moratorium. The liberal network even pushed a GoFundMe to help her cover the rent – but it turns out she wasn’t the mother after all.
CNN reporter Nick Watt caught up with Dasha Kelly last week for a story on the recent eviction moratorium lapse. He referred to the three children as "her little girls" and noted they could all end up on the street as CNN’s on-screen chyron said, "Mom braces for eviction." Watt explained that Kelly lost her job because of the coronavirus pandemic and can no longer afford child care, and her "little girls" were shown during CNN’s segment.
However, it turns out Kelly isn’t the mother of the three young children used throughout CNN’s reporting.
"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.
The online version of the on-air interview now begins with a disclaimer, "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."
Kelly was portrayed as a "single mom" at the outset, however.
"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 who were quick to donate.
The CNN-promoted GoFundMe, which was also shared on CNN social media accounts, ended up raising over $230,000. CNN then brought back Kelly and the three small children for an emotional follow-up interview alongside Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., after the Biden administration announced a new ban on landlords evicting tenants during the pandemic.
"This is the least that we can do for you is to step up and make sure that you get to stay in the safety and comfort of your home, while we work on other things, to help make sure that your life and the lives of your children are better," Bush said.
CNN is now reporting that Kelly is actually the girlfriend of the children's father, and they will return to live with their actual mother before school starts. CNN’s online version of the story was initially headlined, "More than $170,000 raised in 24 hours for mother and three kids facing eviction." It was changed to "More than $170,000 raised in 24 hours for Las Vegas woman facing eviction."
GoFundMe told CNN it has put the funds on hold and nothing has been withdrawn.
"My name is Kelly and I have 3 daughters living in Nevada," Kelly wrote in the description of the GoFundMe. "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 hot to be homeless. My daughter's [sic] are aged 5, 6, and 8. Please help with anything you can."
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick and Gregg Re contributed to this report.