Nation & World

Mother of bullied boy Keaton Jones speaks out after story takes a weird turn

The video took on a life of its own. Thousands of people shared the Keaton Jones post on Facebook, leading to more than 20 million views in the span of three days.
The video took on a life of its own. Thousands of people shared the Keaton Jones post on Facebook, leading to more than 20 million views in the span of three days. Facebook

The video broke the hearts of people everywhere over the weekend.

Athletes, movie stars, musicians and politicians were among the people who sent support to Keaton Jones, who wept as he talked about being bullied at his school outside of Knoxville, Tenn.

“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?” Keaton says on the video, posted to Facebook by his mother, and later adds: “They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”

The New York Times said the video had been viewed more than 20 million times as of Sunday night. Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson tweeted his well wishes to Jones. Chris Evans, aka Captain America, invited Keaton to the premiere of next year’s “Avengers” sequel.

But things turned, well, weird on Monday. TMZ reported that the Facebook page of Keaton’s mom, Kimberly Jones, included “several photos of herself and friends displaying the Confederate flag” and a post that starts, “Dear butt hurt Americans” that TMZ says was written after the unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

On Tuesday, Jones spoke out on CBS This Morning about her family’s quick rise to the spotlight, reported McClatchy’s Mandy Matney.

“I knew that it could be great, and I knew that it could be awful,” she told CBS This Morning. “And it has been.”

An emotional Kimberly Jones told CBS This Morning that the photos shared of her were “the only two photos on the entire planet” where she is “near a Confederate Flag.”

She assured the CBS reporter that it had nothing to do with racist intent and said she’s been bullied because she wasn’t racist.

A number of people tweeted screen shots that were allegedly from Kimberly Jones’ Facebook page, including this one:

Deadline Hollywood reported that Kimberly Jones’ page, “which had posted the bullying video, has been either taken down or closed to views.” Jones’ page appears to have been scraped clean.

“I’ve taken that down for a reason,” Jones told Fox News of her Facebook page, without revealing what that reason is.

MMA fighter Joe Schilling shared a conversation on Instagram that he says was with Kimberly Jones in which she says, “This is a opportunity for my son. I’m poor not rich” and “what happened to us whites sticking together.”

Here is a video that Schilling shared:

But Jones is fighting back against Schilling’s claims, telling Fox News they are “untrue.”

“I did not tell him that I would rather have donations instead of the help from celebrities,” Fox News reports Jones said in an Instagram direct message.

Fox News says it reached out to Schilling but did not receive comment.

A GoFundMe page was set up, but it was on behalf of Kimberly Jones. It had a goal of $20,000 to be raised and had reached $58,274 before donations were no longer accepted.

As the ugly news of the day continued on Monday, Keaton’s sister Lakyn tweeted, “You all can hate and tweet all you want but our faith cant be shaken”

She also told a Twitter user that her mother had not set up the GoFundMe page. Later on Monday, it appears that a fake Instagram page was created that was allegedly started by Keaton Jones and later deleted.

As the stories about Kimberly Jones started to surface, there was a backlash against her and the family. But actor Patton Oswalt said in a Twitter response that the focus should be on helping Keaton.

“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?” Oswalt tweeted.

Adam Flowers, 9, received a brand new pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes from Bibb County deputies after he was bullied by a teenage girl in his neighborhood. His grandmother, Carolyn Taylor tells his story.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

Related stories from Kansas City Star