The mother of bullied Tennessee boy Keaton Jones responds to the wave of criticism that came as quickly as the initial outpouring of celebrity support for her son.
Mind-boggling information surfaced that caused celebrities to question if they acted too soon in offering money and trips for Keaton. The initial video plea to stop bullying that touched so many who saw it on social media has now become a more complex issue.
Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone pic.twitter.com/BR8c4ldDFc
— Dana White (@danawhite) December 10, 2017
Celebrities and internet users question the motives of mother Kimberly Jones, who some now think is using the situation to collect donations. Paypal and Gofundme pages that are supposedly linked to her family have collected tens of thousands of dollars. They also wonder if she is racist after photos emerged showing her and Keaton posing with Confederate flags.
Kimberley and Keaton Jones were interviewed on Good Morning America, where they talked about the support Keaton has received and the criticism for his mother.
“We’re not racist. People that know us know that,” said Kimberly.
She confirmed that the Confederate flag photos are real but the intention was misconstrued.
“It was meant to be ironic, and funny, and extreme,” she said. “I am genuinely, truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would.”
ABC reporter T.J. Holmes said that Kimberly also told him that in Tennessee there are Confederate flags everywhere and that she set up the photo for a friend. Kimberly hopes people don’t give up on the plight of bullied children because of her.
“If they want to hate me that’s fine, but still talk to your kids. Talk to your kids. Because this is an epidemic,” she said.
Fox News also messaged Kimberly Jones via Instagram about the comments made by UFC fighter Joe Schilling. He told social media followers that when he offered to bring Keaton to a professional fight and hang out with him. He said Kimberly instead suggested she donate money to her instead. Kimberly told Fox that wasn’t how the conversation went. Schilling did not respond to Fox for comment and he has since removed the video making the allegations.
A Twitter account purportedly belonging to Lakyn Jones, Keaton’s sister, has also been responding to the criticism.
“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.”
The posts suggest that someone is pretending to be her family and communicating with celebrities, and even setting up fake donation pages.
Those who know me and my family know we aren’t racist. My brother doesn’t say the “N” word. Please leave it alone
— Lakyn ? (@Lakyn_Jones) December 11, 2017
According to TMZ one Gofundme page has been shut down, and another was paused after collecting nearly $60,000. The page that still exists was not set up by Kimberly Jones. The creator of the page, Joseph Lam, wrote on the page opened it after seeing Keaton’s viral video. He wrote that he has already submitted some of the donated funds to the family.
“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 MOM!! However passing judgement on her before you know her is a form of bullying. Condemnation before evaluation is the ultimate form of ignorance,” wrote Lam in a page update.
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