The lack of donations to an online crowdfunding effort organized in the wake of the death of comedian and actor Anthony “A.J.” Johnson has prompted his grieving widow to question fans’ and friends’ loyalties to her husband.
Lexis Jones Mason, who started a GoFundMe campaign on Monday — hours before news of Johnson’s death went viral — recently described how the outpouring of support for her family has decidedly not been of the financial variety. Mason said she needs the assistance to help pay for a proper funeral for Johnson as well as to support their children and grandchildren.
Speaking via video conference with TMZ, an emotional Mason said she was confused at the inconsistency from Johnson’s friends and supporters.
“Y’all say y’all love him,” Mason said before asking: “Where is the love?”
She said the funeral costs are falling squarely on her shoulders.
“We’re raising money because I have to pay for this all out of pocket,” Mason explained.
She said she was resolute in giving her husband a proper homegoing service and suggested Johnson’s body was still with a medical examiner’s office or the local morgue.
“I’m asking for help but if I don’t get it, it’s fine … because I’m not leaving my husband in there like that,” Mason said, tearing up at times. “We’re going to have a service. I’m going to do everything I know he would have done for me.”
Mason described the lack of immediate support as “just hurtful” and suggested Johnson did not have a life insurance policy for the family to fall back on.
“It’s people that’s saying that they’re gonna give money,” Mason emphasized. “We haven’t received it.”
She said she expected funeral costs to be about $15,000 and that she asked for $20,000 on the GoFundMe so that her children could split whatever is left.
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe account had raised more than $2,600.
“We want to honor him the way he deserves,” the GoFundMe says in part about Johnson.
Mason said she wants to bury Johnson at the Rose Hills cemetery in California but she will cremate him if she can’t raise enough money for his burial. But she was also adamant about people ending what she described as disingenuous condolences.
“If you guys want to give what they want to give, I will appreciate it,” Mason said. “But please stop the fake love, please stop the fake calls, please stop the fake texts.”
Johnson, who starred in the movie “Friday,” which co-starred wealthy Hollywood mainstays Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, was found dead at the age of 56 in Los Angeles earlier this month. A cause of death was not immediately reported.
“He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold,” BH Talent agency rep LyNea Bell said in a statement confirming Johnson’s death. “We will be in constant prayer for his entire family including his wife Lexis, three children, brother Edward ‘Peanut’ Smith, sister Sheila, and lifetime manager and friend Mike D. Please give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss.”