Bullied boy Keaton Jones has become a hero and a villain in the bullying story of the year in mere days after social media users unearthed photos of his family raising a confederate flag. In response, his mother, Kimberly, has spoken up on national television to finally put the controversy to rest.
According to E! News, Kimberly Jones joined her son in an interview with NBC News to respond to criticisms about being racist and taking advantage of Keaton’s viral video.
“I mean that, you know, yesterday he was a hero. You know, the world loved us. Today, the world hates us,” she said in a sneak peak of the entire interview aired on Today.
“And again, I’m trying really hard to think that I was trying not to get caught up in the positives. So, we’re not going to get caught up in the negatives.”
Keaton Jones’ mom has also previously made an appearance in Good Morning America, explaining why she posted the controversial confederate flag image with the caption, “I stand for the flag.”
“That’s not who we are,” she declared before explaining that the “only two photos on [her] entire planet that [she is] anywhere near a Confederate flag” was meant to be “ironic” and “funny.”
“I feel like anybody who wants to take the time to ask anybody who I am or even troll through some other pictures, I mean I feel like we’re not racist. I mean, people that know us, know that.”
Earlier this week, Keaton’s heartbreaking video condemning bullying gained attention online and had even prompted celebrity support. However, the 11-year-old boy’s supposed “heroism” for standing up against his bullies was marred by a controversy suggesting that his mom was racist and was taking advantage of his son’s sudden fame for profit, causing people to think twice about their position on Keaton’s plea against bullying.
All the internet loves Keaton Jones, a lovely kid that got bullied *5 seconds later* we regret to inform you Keaton is a racist.— Doktor Ross Sewage (@sewage666) December 11, 2017
That viral video of #KeatonJones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child.— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 11, 2017
But his mom, Kimberly on the other hand, is a suspected racist who makes very problematic posts bullying Black protesters #TheIrony pic.twitter.com/NUhidunP8z
If you've already donated to his mother's GoFundMe slush fund, I highly recommend you request a refund. No one knows what the money is actually going to (besides his racist mom's bank account). There are other, much better causes.https://t.co/o86CpT6j36— William LeGate (@williamlegate) December 11, 2017
KIMBERLY JONES KEATON racist KKK go fund me scam - LOCK HER UP for FRAUD pic.twitter.com/Cs7yG4qdvh— Mister Fedor (@misterfedor1) December 11, 2017
However, Deadline said that the GoFundMe page’s connection to Keaton Jones’ mother, Kimberly, could not be verified as the account has been frozen after surpassing $58,000 in donations received as of Monday, December 11.
Moreover, Gregory Clay, the principal of Keaton’s middle school, also denied the magnitude of bullying in their institution, saying it wasn’t “as rampant as the video would have you believe” and that those who were involved in Friday’s incident had been “dealt with.”
It is also uncertain whether or not the perks Keaton was promised after the viral video emerged still stands following the backlash his family received, including Chris Evans’ invitation for the Avengers: Infinity Wars premiere in Los Angeles in 2018.
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
Unverified accounts for Keaton Jones has since emerged on Twitter, most of which reflected unconfirmed accusations against the 11-year-old student about being racist and hating “black people” that supposedly caused his “bullies” to attack him in the first place.
Either way, it is best to take things in perspective and maintain a sound opinion about people like Keaton Jones and his mother despite what things may look like on social media.