Mother of Keaton Jones defends her 'racist' Facebook posts
It's been just four days since the video of a sobbing Keaton Jones told the world about the bullies at his school who mocked him so much that he feared lunchtimes at school. The video went viral, with a huge amount of celebrities supporting the Tennessee tween and helping raise awareness about bullying, and some even offering to take the 11-year-old to red-carpet events and special coaching sessions.
However, it didn't take long for people to start condemning Keaton's mother, who posted the video to her Facebook, after pictures of her smiling and holding the Confederate flag were discovered on her profile. Keaton's video has cast attention to the mother-of-three's personal Facebook page leading to people finding the old social media posts. The Confederate flag is to some a token of Southern pride and to others a symbol of racism, slavery and white supremacy.
Another picture of Keaton's older sister Katyn was also found on her Twitter account of Keaton and his siblings holding another Confederate flag, as well as the American flag and plastic guns. The pictures saw a backlash against Keaton's family, who were accused of being racist. She since hid her Facebook account from people being able to view it.
Now, Kimberly has spoken out to defend the images during a pre-recorded interview on CBS This Morning. When asked about the images, she replied:
"The only two photos – the only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag... It was ironic. It was funny."
"It didn't have anything to do with racist intent?" the interviewer asked.
"No. No. Absolutely not. I've said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn't racist," Kimberly replied.
Her daughter Lakyn also posted something similar on Twitter: "Those who know me and my family know we aren’t racist. My brother doesn’t say the “N” word. Please leave it alone."
People also criticised the mother for the multiple GoFundMe accounts that had popped up since Keaton's video went viral, accusing her of profiting from her son's misfortune. However, she explained that they were all fake, bar the one that had received $58,000 in donations before also being shut down.
Kimberly urged people to remember the matter at heart, and continue to share their support for her bullied son. Keaton, also in the CBS interview, said he was glad the video was circulated so widely around the internet.
"It made me feel like I had accomplished something real. Something that could actually change the world," he said. The middle-schooler explained how he thought of making the video himself after a particularly troubling experience at school.
"I had enough of it," he said. "They had said that someone was going to beat me up in lunch so I texted my mom and I said 'what do I do here?'"
Keaton's middle school is planning to hold an anti-bullying assembly on Monday, though the 11-year-old doesn't plan on returning to classes until after the holidays in January.