UPDATE: Keaton Jones' mother, Kimberly Jones, appeared on CBS This Morning Tuesday to address the growing backlash surrounding a Facebook post showing her and Keaton with Confederate flags. "The only two photos – the only two photos on the entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag. It was ironic. It was funny," Kimberly said of the images. When asked whether there was any racist intent behind the original photos, she said no.
"Absolutely not. I've said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn't racist," she said. Kimberly also clarified that she had never started any fundraisers to raise money for Keaton and the family; she said she had only approved of one GoFundMe campaigns and called the others fake. Keaton himself also appeared on This Morning to explain his experience of being bullied at school, and the origins of the viral moment – noting that it was his decision, not his mother's, to shoot the video. "[The video] made me feel like I had accomplished something real, something that could actually change the world."
ORIGINAL STORY: Young Keaton Jones caught the attention of a number of major music artists and Hollywood celebrities over the weekend after his mother posted a one-minute video of him tearfully talking about being bullied Friday.
In the clip – viewed over 22 million times by early Monday per the Associated Press – the boy from Tennessee recounts how the kids at school make fun of him for his appearance and even physically attack him on a daily basis.
"They make fun of my nose," he says in the video, which his mother posted to Facebook. "They call me ugly. They say I have no friends." Jones adds that sometimes his classmates will "put milk on me and put ham down my clothes, throw bread on me."
"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What's the point of it?" he asks in one particularly heartbreaking moment. "Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It's not OK."
Despite his own humiliation, however, Jones says he is just as concerned about others who get bullied too. "I don't like that they do it to me," he says. "And I, for sure, don't like that they do it to other people, cause it's not OK! People that are different don't need to be criticized about it. It's not their fault."
Jones' mother, Kimberly, wrote in her post to Facebook that she was sharing the video in hopes of bringing more awareness to the pervasive issue of schoolyard bullying.
"Talk to your kids," she wrote. "We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere."
Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Cardi B, Snoop Dogg and others caught wind of Jones' plea and reached out to share their thoughts and offer him their friendship, support and, in some cases, VIP invitations.
Who ever goes to this boy school ,If you pick on him you not even a bully YOU A STRAIGHT UP PUSSY ASS PUNK ASS BITCH .Like how you pick on somebody who can’t defend them self ? THATS NOT GANGSTA ! If you a parent or somebody big sis or big bro show your kids this video and show them why they should not bully others !!😡😡😡 👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽
Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
Keaton, will you’ve my guest at the Premiere of #InfinityWar too? I think you are about one of the coolest kids I have ever seen! Can’t wait to meet you in person, pal. Forget those ignorant kids. One day, very soon, they are going to feel pretty stupid for this. https://t.co/BqJLxu25GN— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) December 11, 2017
I #StandwithKeaton. Keaton baby, just know you’re not alone. There are so many people who come out of bullying so much stronger and you will be one of them!! God bless you sweetheart. https://t.co/LdCAy2lDHu— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) December 11, 2017
Keaton, this is so accurate. Why do people do this? I think your sooo cool Keaton! I wanna be your friend ( but srsly) ur freakin awesome ❤️ https://t.co/LD7Q762bL9— Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebbrown) December 9, 2017