Caution: This post contains extremely strong language.
Eleven-year-old Keaton Jones won over the country with a viral video in which he described the heart-wrenching bullying he faces at school. But now that the liberal-leaning media have unearthed posts showing his mother with a confederate flag, the story has suddenly taken on a much different tone.
This is Keaton Jones, he lives in Knoxville and he has a little something to say about bullying.https://t.co/coyQxFp33V
— OutKick Bets (@OutKickBets) December 9, 2017
Keaton and his family are now feeling backlash due to charges of “racism” against his mother, Kimberly Jones.
Countless celebrities, including Donald Trump, Jr. and actor Chris Evans, reached out with lavish gift offers to help take Keaton’s mind off his worries.
The discovery of Ms. Jones’ politically-charged social media posts, along with photos she previously shared of the Confederate flag– led to the racism accusations.
The pictures were uncovered on Ms. Jones’ Facebook profile, which has been set to private since the video of her son went viral.
One of the photos showed Jones smiling while she held a Confederate flag.
Bullied Student Keaton Jones' Mom Facing Backlash Over Confederate Flag: Photos and words posted by Tennessee student Keaton Jones' mother have many people questioning whether she deserves any of the sympathy generated by Keaton's viral video. Kimberly Jones' Facebook page… pic.twitter.com/BbG3D6AE2g
— – (@COUPSLEADER) December 11, 2017
In the other picture, which was also shared by the Twitter account of Keaton’s older sister, the Jones family is seen pictured with other children. Keaton held the American flag while another boy held the Confederate flag.
Jones wrote a Facebook post in August that seemingly criticized the protests of groups like Black Lives Matter:
“If you aren’t bleeding, no bones are sticking out & you can breathe, STOP crying! For the love, some folks clelarly never picked a switch. And before y’all start talking to me about metaphorical, emotional, financial or historical blood and brokenness, Don’t. join a group.”
The news led many to label Jones a “racist.”
That viral video of #KeatonJones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child.
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
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 11, 2017
The irony behind Keaton Jones bullying video is that his mom Kimberly Jones is a confederate flag waving racist. Oh and her views have gone viral too.
— bkwrita (@bkwrita) December 11, 2017
The racism charges were exacerbated by messages sent to MMA fighter Joe Schilling from an Instagram account allegedly belonging to Ms. Jones.
Schilling said in an Instagram video that he contacted Jones to offer to take Keaton to an event where he would meet other fighters. But the alleged Jones account responded that she only wanted money.
Joe Schilling spoke to Keaton Jones' mother and discovered some things…
Read 👇 pic.twitter.com/DMkEnF0fOt
— Culture Mag (@CultureMagg) December 11, 2017
When Schilling rebuked the messenger, he received a reply that read “What happened to us whites sticking together and helping one of another against the predator?”
Jones’ daughter, Lakyn, said on Twitter that the Instagram account Schilling communicated with does not belong to her mother. Lakyn also denied her family’s involvement with GoFundMe accounts that have been collecting tens of thousands of dollars in Keaton’s name.
Kimberly Jones denied the racism charges. She told CBS the photos had nothing to do with bigotry.
“The only two photos–the only two photos–on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag,” she said. “It was ironic, it was funny.”
Jones also asserted she has fought against racism in the past. “I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist.”
The jury is still out on whether Kimberly Jones will clear her name or whether her son’s story will be buried under the weight of the racism allegations.
It goes to show how quickly the tide of public opinion can change in the digital age.