Caution: This post contains extremely strong language.
For Keaton Jones, it looked like life had suddenly transformed for the better.
After Keaton’s mother filmed his account of the bullying he experiences at school and the video went viral, celebrities rushed to make once-in-a-lifetime offers to the emotionally-stricken boy.
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
Actor Chris Evans offered to fly him out to Los Angeles for the premier of the upcoming “Avengers” film. Donald Trump, Jr. offered to host Keaton and his mother at his home while they visit UFC headquarters in Las Vegas.
But now many have put their benevolence on pause over allegations that Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones, is only out for money.
The controversy arose after two GoFundMe accounts and a Paypal account that claimed to belong to Kimberly Jones began receiving scrutiny on Monday.
One of the GoFundMe pages raised nearly $60,000 in donations from contributors moved by Keaton’s plight.
MMA fighter Joe Schilling cast doubt on the motive behind the donation requests with a video posted to his Instagram account.
In his video, Schilling said he contacted Kimberly Jones via Instagram, offering to take Keaton to an event where he could meet other fighters. But Ms. Jones allegedly only wanted money.
Schilling also shared a screen capture of the conversation he had with the user claiming to be Kimberly Jones. When Schilling accused the user of trying to profit off of her son’s misfortune, she replied “what happened to us whites sticking together and helping one another against the predator?”
Joe Schilling spoke to Keaton Jones' mother and discovered some things…
Read 👇 pic.twitter.com/DMkEnF0fOt
— Culture Mag (@CultureMagg) December 11, 2017
Jones told Fox News Schilling’s claims are untrue. “I did not tell him that I would rather have donations instead of the help from celebrities,” she said.
She also defended her family on Instagram.
“I love my kids: Ya’ll people do not know me or my family. Did y’all know that my son Keaton was spit on in school, picked on by teachers, that supposed to be there for him??? I’m guessing y’all didn’t because y’all wanna steady Judge me and say I’m using him for money that’s false.”
Kimberly Jones’ daughter and Keaton’s sister, Lakyn, took to Twitter to say the Instagram user Schilling spoke with was not her mother. Lakyn also denied her family’s connection to the GoFundMe pages.
GoFundMe shut down one of the pages and placed a hold on the one worth $60,000, TMZ reports.
In light of these events, some social media users expressed a negative perception of the Keaton Jones story. The backlash was compounded by the circulation of photos from Kimberly Jones’ Facebook account, which showed her holding a Confederate flag.
I feel sorry for this kid but, that money should Never end up in his mom’s hand, set up a college account, put all the money towards his education, do not let his mother get a penny from that gofundme page, if it’s really through she’s a RACIST KKK whitesupremicist that’s #NO $$
— ROUY R.Z. (@4uto26) December 12, 2017
Feeling sorry and heartbroken for the boy. The mom, however, seems to be a white supremacist sympathizer, carrying confederate flags. Allegedly. Not a very loving, empathic individual if that is true.
— Lana Montalban (@LanaMontalban) December 11, 2017
I wish the media would stop using his picture when reporting this story. He’s under age. I admit I was moved by his story, but his mother has ruined all credibility.
— Amy Harper (@atldaisy) December 11, 2017
I was so mad at myself for thinking his Mom should have put down the phone, stop videotaping her son and just hug him. Guess she had an end game. Hope this kid will be okay.
— Aunt Puppy Butt (@Mackie005) December 12, 2017
Why does every situation now a days always have a go fund me page? Throwing money at these kinds of situations don’t really help. Stopping the bullies is what would help.
— Krista Kontny (@KristaKontny) December 12, 2017
I personally think everyone who donated needs to have money returned and end this chaos. It is turning worse for kid….. not healthy for him.
— Laura (@LauraLou1115) December 11, 2017
His mammy tried to use his demise to get paid, anyone with some damn sense why would there be a gofundme put up concerning this matter, “My son is getting picked on so give me money”? C’mon now…
— IS JOHN FOX GONE YET (@ianewilliams) December 11, 2017
Greg Clay, the principal of Horace Maynard Middle School, where Keaton attends, told USA Today the bullying situation is not as problematic as Keaton’s video suggests.
“‘It’s not as rampant as the video would have you believe,” Clay said. “I can’t tell you what was done, but I can tell you action was taken with the children.”
But a neighbor, Amanda Hensley, said her daughter was bullied at the same school for being overweight. “They like to keep it hid over there,” Hensley asserted. “Unless something like this comes out, they don’t tell nothing.”
It remains inconclusive whether the donation accounts in fact belonged to Kimberly Jones or were created by other people who sought to take advantage of the viral story.