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Mother of murdered gay teen begs Lady Gaga and Ellen DeGeneres for help in fight for justice

Lily Wakefield
·2-min read

The mother of murdered gay teenager Jason Fox has called for help from Ellen DeGeneres and Lady Gaga to help raise the profile of the case.

Jason’s mother, Pepper Fox, is desperately trying to get a hate crime charge added in the murder of her gay son, who was killed on 14 September, 2020, and found weeks later buried in a shallow grave.

Four men – Riley Hillestad, Claude Merritt, Matthew Raddatz-Freeman and Kevin Belding –have been charged with his murder, but police say they are still trying to ascertain the motive.

Desperate to raise the profile of the case and get justice for her son, Pepper decided to post about his death on TikTok,

In one TikTok, she said: “Hi, this is my attempt to get ahold of Ellen DeGeneres and Lady Gaga.

“My 19-year-old son was brutally murdered in Newport, Washington, which is not a gay-friendly area, a few months ago… I’m in over my head and I need some help.”

Although neither Ellen DeGeneres or Lady Gaga has yet responded to her, LGBT+ activist and TikToker Josh Helfgott, who has 3.3 million Tik Tok fans, did.

Since Helfgott shared her video, Pepper has gone viral on TikTok and the hashtag #justiceforjasonfox has been viewed almost 13 million times.

Pepper told Inlander: “I couldn’t believe it.This really hit hard for a lot of people at home.”

According to the publication, Jason’s social media showed that the 19-year-old had a history with the men charged with his murder, but Pepper says she has evidence that he was killed because he was gay.

On 6 April, a judge granted a warrant for police to access Jason’s iCloud account.

The warrant stated: “Pepper Fox continues to claim on social media that she has information proving that the murder of Jason Fox was a hate crime and should be prosecuted as such.

“I believe that Jason’s iCloud accounts likely contain more information that is relevant to this investigation.”

After Pepper’s videos went viral on TikTok, Glenn Blakeslee, Pend Oreille County sheriff, said: “I’m glad that people are interested and paying attention. I hope people will reserve judgment until we get to court and facts can be presented in a thorough manner.”

This month, Pepper organised a Pride parade in their small, rural town in honour of her son.

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It was held on 3 April, which would have been Jason’s 20th birthday.