Racism Allegations And Fake Fundraisers: The Viral Story Of Keaton Jones Has Become A Mess
Keaton Jones has received national attention recently for his anti-bullying plea, with athletes, celebrities, and entertainers voicing their support of the 11 year old speaking out against being bullied. However, the story became complex following the discovery of photos of the child's mother, Kimberly Jones, seen with Confederate flags — once on her own, and another time with her family — on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Following the controversy, Jones appeared on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday to discuss the photos.
\u201cBacklash over viral bullying video of Keaton Jones as mother's alleged online posts with the Confederate Flag spark new questions: https://t.co/MHgc3aJZjl\u201d— Good Morning America (@Good Morning America) 1513082867
"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," Jones said. "I've said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn't racist."
When asked if there was any racist intent behind the images Jones said "Absolutely not." According to the reporter that spoke with Jones, T.J. Holmes, the mother attempted to brush off the pictures as just being a reality living in the South.
"The mother, again, her defense, she says, 'Hey, we're in the South. This is Tennessee. There are Confederate flags all over the place,'" Holmes said.
The pictures in question also included the following caption: "Dear butt hurt Americans, If you aren't bleeding, no bones are sticking out and you can breathe, stop crying. For the love, some folks clearly 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."
None— Rese (@Rese) 1513007869
Along with this it seems as if people have been trying to cash in on Keaton, with various GoFundMe pages popping up that have no relation to Jones' family. As USA Today reports, there were two Instagram accounts that claimed to be run by Jones. As USA Today reports:
One user, @kimberlyjones_38, was soliciting donations Monday through both PayPal and a now-defunct GoFundMe campaign titled "Give My Son a Good Christmas."
Joe Schilling, a professional mixed martial artist, posted a video on Instagram to 146,000 followers and tagged that account in the caption.
Schilling said in his video that he "felt pretty moved" by Keaton's message, so he reached out to what he thought was the mom's account and offered to invite Keaton to an event in Los Angeles.
"She just wants money. She just wants me to share her GoFundMe account," Schilling said, adding that he asked why. "She said, 'Christmas is coming and I'm a single mother and blah blah blah, money is tight,' whatever. ... Make your own judgment on that."
In a second post, Schilling shared a screenshot of messages he exchanged with the @kimberlyjones_38 account. The operator of that account asked him, "What happened to us whites sticking together and helping one of (sic) another against the predator?" In his caption, Schilling acknowledged that the account might be fake.
Twitter user @Lakyn_Jones, who claimed to be Jones' sister, spoke out against accusations that Jones was racist, as well as denounced the Instagram account that was claiming to be her.
"She has a private Instagram and hasn't talked to anyone. We haven't received any money and don't plan on it. The gofundme's aren't by any of us," she wrote.
Another GoFundMe page was also made by someone unrelated to the family but is working with the crowdfunding platform to make sure the money gets to them.
Joseph Lam, who made the GoFundMe page "Stand up for Keaton," earned $57,484.
"When a stranger starts a campaign and does not have a direct connection to the individual they’re raising money for, funds are collected by our payment processors, held, and then only released only to the person named as the beneficiary. All funds are on hold until we’ve received additional information from the beneficiary of the campaign," Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, said