The mother of Keaton Jones, the Tennessee boy whose heart-breaking anti-bullying message went viral over the weekend, is facing tough questions after Internet sleuths have stumbled upon her Facebook page featuring photos of the Confederate flag along with some questionable messages.
(DM) Dozens of actors, singers and athletes, among them Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Mark Ruffalo, Donald Trump Jr and LeBron James, to name just a few, have come out in support of the Knoxville middle-schooler after his mother shared a video online showing her son in tears, pleading to be left alone by bullies.
In the tear-jerking clip, Keaton recounts how his tormentors at school have been mocking his appearance, calling him ugly and have even poured milk on him.
But as it often happens with viral sensations, there was more to the story than first met the eye.
Early Monday morning, African-American activist Tariq Nasheed tweeted a screenshot of Kimberly Jones’ now-defunct Facebook page, showing photos of family members waving the Confederate flag.
He also shared a status update from late August, in which Mrs Jones wrote: ‘Dear butt hurt Americans, If you aren’t bleeding, no bones are sticking out & you can breathe, STOP crying! For the love, some folks clearly never picked a switch. And before y’all start talking to me about metaphorical, emotional, financial or historical blood & brokenness, Don’t. Join a group.’
Nasheed characterized the mother-of-three from Tennessee as a ‘suspected racist’ who has made ‘very problematic posts bullying Black protesters.’
Instead, the woman has launched a PayPal account, soliciting donations from well-wishers.
Also on Monday, MMA fighter Joe Schilling took to his Instagram page and posted an exchange he had with the user @kimberlyjones_38, who is believed to be Keaton’s mother, in which she called what happened to the middle-school ‘an opportunity’ for her son and noted that she is poor, ‘not rich.’
When Schilling responded by accusing the woman of using her son’s pain ‘as a platform’ and declaring that he was no longer interested in getting involved, the user replied: ‘What happened to use whites sticking together and helping one of [sic] another against the predator?’
In the video recording, which Jones posted at her son’s requested, as she claimed, Keaton tells his mother: ‘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 okay.’
His mother then asked: ‘What did they say to you?’
‘They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,’ Keaton answered as tears poured from his eyes.
‘What did they do to you at lunch?’ his mom asked.
Keaton replied: ‘Poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes. Threw bread at me.’
In the video, Keaton said it’s not just him, but others are bullied by kids at school.
‘I don’t like that they do it to me and I for sure don’t like that they do it to other people because it’s not okay,’ he told his mother.
‘People that are different, don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault. If you are made fun of just don’t let it bother you. Stay strong I guess. It’s hard.
‘But it’ll probably get better one day,’ Keaton concluded.
His tearjerking video captured the hearts of more than 16 million viewers on Facebook after it was posted by his mother.