An 11-year-old Tennessee kid gained the sympathies of celebrities over the weekend, including Cardi B, Snoop Dogg and Justin Beiber. But now, people are questioning the motives behind his mother’s decision to upload the video of her tearful son.
In a video uploaded Friday to Facebook, Keaton Jones was seen crying as he vented about the alleged taunting of school bullies.
“They make fun of my nose,” he told his mother, who was behind the camera, in the video. “They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,” he said in the video. “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not OK. … People that are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault.”
The video from the above post alone was viewed over 45 million times. After reaching viral status, Keaton received an outpouring of love from celebrities who offered kind words and invites to sports events and A-list gatherings.
So I got the chance to spend the day with my new best bud Keaton. It was unbelievable to get to know him and realize that we have a lot in common. This dude is very special and has changed my life forever. Now I have the little brother I always wanted! God bless you my man pic.twitter.com/vMHVtnf2rC
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@BroadwayJay2) December 11, 2017
But the story soured after MMA fighter Joe Schilling claimed he reached out to help Keaton and came in contact with a woman who said she was Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones. Schilling said he offered to take Keaton to an MMA show but Jones requested money instead.
Photos of Jones and children posing with Confederate memorabilia were also discovered on Monday.
A GoFundMe account created by Joseph Lam who was inspired to assist the kid after seeing the video has been put on hold as allegations toward Jones heighten. The campaign aimed to raise $20,000 but reached more than $57,000 as of Monday night.
That viral video of #KeatonJones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child.
But his mom, Kimberly on the other hand, is a suspected racist who makes very problematic posts bullying Black protesters #TheIrony pic.twitter.com/NUhidunP8z
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) December 11, 2017
Following all of the online backlash, the video appeared to have been deleted from Facebook. After revelations of his mother’s apparent racism, celebrities and Twitter users are divided as to whether Keaton is a sympathetic figure. ESPN anchor Jemele Hill extended an invitation for Keaton to appear on “Sports Center.”
I’ve seen her posts and if true, I’d say there’s potential for a great, teachable moment here. My offer for Keaton to visit ESPN stands, because what happened to him was cruel. That said, this is a stark example of selective empathy. https://t.co/XbZ9NpKJe2
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 11, 2017
Keaton didn’t get to choose the family that raised & shaped him, you smug ghoul. How ‘bout showing him that people of all races & creeds can come together? Change things, maybe? Show him a better world? https://t.co/BZqBEboabLSee Also
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 11, 2017
Learning that Keaton’s family are supportive of the confederate flag is disappointing for me as a person of colour but I still feel that this child, yes CHILD, deserves to be treated with respect & should not be bullied. The beliefs/hypocrisy of his parents is another issue. 1/2 https://t.co/eAS6AxqJ8I
— Nathalie Emmanuel (@missnemmanuel) December 11, 2017
Call me heartless, but I didn't give a shit about #KeatonJones to begin with. Video always felt wrong. Any mom who sees her kid crying, and her 1st instinct is "let me record this & post it online" isn't truely concerned with her child's tears. If she don't care, neither do I.
— Boney Sugar Dupree 無神論者 (@DiqDaddyDangler) December 11, 2017