Keaton Jones: GoFundMe account for bullied child who went viral frozen after mother accused of racism

'They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,' says bullied boy

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 12 December 2017 11:45 GMT
Keaton Jones' mother says confederate flag photos were ironic

The fundraising page for the bullied child whose tearful video about being taunted by fellow pupils went viral has been frozen after his mother was accused of racism.

Keaton Jones, from Knoxville, Tennessee, garnered widespread sympathy after his mother Kimberly filmed him tearfully asking why he is the target of school bullies.

In the emotionally charged video which has racked up millions of views, the young boy describes how bullies pick on him because of his nose, branding him ugly, and telling him he has no friends.

"Why do they 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 criticised about it. It's not their fault. It's hard. It'll probably get better one day," he says.

He adds: “They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”

Keaton, who has gained the support of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and other prominent individuals, also says in one bullying incident he had milk poured on him and ham put down his shirt.

But the GoFundMe page - which has amassed $57,000 in donations - has now been put on hold.

Joseph Lam, who set up the page, was insistent his reasoning for doing so was wholly unrelated to the accusations of racism Keaton’s mother Ms Jones has received.

“As many of you know I paused the donations as well as the comments. As I sit back and read these comments and watched the video again I feel I have to make this update. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE MUM!!” he wrote on the account.

“However passing judgement on her before you know her is a form of bullying. Condemnation before evaluation is the ultimate form of ignorance. I can't even say for sure that any of what’s being said is true. I don't know the family personally and never claimed to have known them.”

Mr Lam said the driving force behind the fundraising campaign was to help a child who had been the victim of bullying and raise awareness about the prevalence of the problem. He said he hoped to use the donations for a “private school or college fund”.

“This is about a kid who's been bullied and not just one kid, Keaton, there are many unspoken cases about kids being bullied. We have to be the voice for the voiceless. In the video, I saw a kid crying not just for himself but for others. To me, that's a kid with a heart of gold and deserves praise.”

His mother Ms Jones has come under fire after a number of people claimed to have found evidence of offensive and possibly racist behaviour on Ms Jones’ Facebook account.

“That viral video of Keaton Jones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child,” said media personality Tariq Nasheed. “But his mum, Kimberly on the other hand, is a suspected racist who makes very problematic posts bullying Black protesters.”

Mr Nasheed’s tweet was accompanied by several photos appearing to show members of the Jones family standing next to a Confederate flag. The Confederacy strove to preserve slavery in the US during the Civil War.

The tweet also included a screenshot of a Facebook post, allegedly written by Ms Jones, telling “butt hurt Americans” to stop complaining about “metaphorical, emotional, financial, or historical blood & brokenness”.

“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,” the post reads.

Ms Jones has set her Facebook profile to private which means her posts can no longer be seen by the general public. However, her daughter, Lakyn Jones, previously posted one of the previously mentioned photos to her public Twitter account.

The photo, which is captioned “Merica,” shows Keaton holding an American flag next to another child holding a Confederate flag and Lakyn posing with a gun.

The screenshots sparked outrage on social media and some accused Ms Jones of hypocrisy.

Ms Jones has not addressed the photos publicly and did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

This tweet from Keaton Jones's sister shows members of the Jones family posing with a Confederate flag
This tweet from Keaton Jones's sister shows members of the Jones family posing with a Confederate flag (Twitter/Lakyn Jones)

But Lakyn appeared to address the situation on Twitter shortly after the photos started to circulate.

She wrote: “My family will continue to support each other. You all can hate and tweet all you want but our faith can't be shaken.”

"Those who know me and my family know we aren’t racist. My brother doesn’t say the 'N' word. Please leave it alone,” a second tweet reads.

“The Instagram KimberlyJones_38 is NOT my mom. She has a private Instagram and hasn’t talked to anyone. We haven’t received any money and don’t plan on it. The gofundme’s aren’t by any of us,” adds another.

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