Yesterday New Times published a profile of controversial SoundCloud artist XXXTentacion. The 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, is on house arrest while awaiting trial for a long list of disturbing charges, including witness tampering, witness harassment, false imprisonment, and aggravated battery of a pregnant victim. The piece reported that Onfroy's alleged victim, Geneva Ayala, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her extensive hospital bills.
Less than 24 hours after the story went online, the campaign has now raised more than $12,000 in new donations. One anonymous donor gave $11,000.
Ayala started the campaign in late 2016 shortly after Onfroy allegedly left her with two massive black eyes and several bodily injuries in an incident near Florida International University. (Onfroy disputes her claim and says he never abused her.)
Ayala went to the hospital and learned her eye had sustained a fracture along the left orbital floor that was damaging her optic nerve. A corrective procedure, doctors told her, would cost about $20,000. They said she should have the procedure as soon as possible.
"But I didn't have money to do that," Ayala says. "So [the doctors] were like, 'Make a GoFundMe,' and I was like, 'Oh, that’s how that works?' So I made one."
When she started the fundraiser, Ayala quickly raised $8,000 in donations, including $5,000 from Onfroy. But within a week, fans bombarded the page with reports of fraud, claiming she had misrepresented the cause of her injuries. GoFundMe deactivated the page, blocking Ayala from the money she had raised. A year and a half later, she still has not had the medical procedure.
But that will likely change soon. After New Times reached out to GoFundMe about the page, the company investigated the fraud claims. A spokesperson wrote back, noting that “if a campaign is reported, our team looks into it," but that in this case, "sufficient information was provided, and the campaign has been reactivated.“
The page went back online last week. As of this morning, it had raised $20,776, a jump of more than $12,000.
"I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, and I’m sorry that GoFundMe made you prove your story," one contributor, Bijal Desai-Ramirez, writes. "Good luck with your surgery and I hope everything goes smoothly."
People also responded to the fundraiser on Twitter.
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Geneva Ayala, the survivor of X’s disgusting abuse, has a gofundme for eye surgery that’s been riddled with false fraud claims and harrassing trolls. her story has been doubted enough. massive CW though https://t.co/nT9wews260— greg (@gregzoda) June 6, 2018
Pity comes in when reading that XXXTENTACION’s fans mess with Ayala’s privacy. She can't be online bc they get her accounts deleted, like her GoFundMe for eye nerve damage & fracture repair surgery (it's back tho), and stalk her at her workplace & beyond.— Jamara (@whoisjamara) June 6, 2018
In response to the donations, Talyssa Lee, a witness of the alleged abuse and an advocate for Ayala, wrote she had been overwhelmed with emotion. "I know she’ll use that to change her entire life," Lee says. "This was all divine.”