Bullied kid’s mum claims ‘I’m no racist’ as controversy looms
KIMBERLY Jones says she is not a racist.
The mum of 11-year-old Keaton Jones, the schoolboy whose video detailing his torment at the hands of bullies went viral, appeared on Good Morning America in the US to address claims that she is racist.
This is Keaton Jones, he lives in Knoxville and he has a little something to say about bullying.pic.twitter.com/coyQxFp33V— Everything TN (@Everything_TN) December 9, 2017
Ms Jones has been on the back foot after a picture of her next to a Confederate flag emerged and people started questioning a number of GoFundMe campaigns set up for Keaton. The Confederate flag is considered an image of white supremacy in the US.
"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," she said. "I mean, people that know us, know us."
Ms Jones apologised for the picture with the Confederate flag, which she said was meant to be a joke.
"It was meant to be ironic and funny and extreme. I am genuinely truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would," she said.
She also said that only one GoFundMe campaign had her blessing but that account has also been frozen.
The bullying suffered by Keaton however is true, with Union County school officials confirming that he was the victim of at least one recent bullying incident.
Ms Jones said whatever the public thought of her, people should still use Keaton's story to have a conversation about bullying.
"They want to hate me, I mean, whatever, that's fine, but still talk to your kids," Ms Jones said. "Talk to your kids because this is ... an epidemic."
Celebrities and internet users alike responded the video taken by Ms Jones in droves to offer their support.
In the video, Keaton claimed that other students call him ugly, make fun of his nose and tell him he has no friends.
He also alleged that milk was poured on him and ham shoved down his clothes by these bullies.
"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?" asked Keaton while looking directly at his mother's camera phone.
"What's the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them? It's not OK."
Over 20 million people had viewed the video on Ms Jones' Facebook page before she shut down the account on Monday.