It’s a plot twist no one saw coming. When Tennessee mom Kimberly Jones took video of son Keaton, a sixth grader, tearfully describing how other students pour milk on him, shove ham down his clothes and call him “ugly,” the footage quickly went viral with more than 22 million views. But now Jones is facing backlash after photos surfaced of her posing with Confederate flags — a symbol of Southern heritage for some and hate for others.
“If you aren’t bleeding, no bones are sticking out & you can breathe, stop crying,” Jones allegedly wrote alongside one of the pictures. “For the love, some folks clearly never picked a switch. And before ya’ll start talking to me about metaphorical, emotional, financial or historical blood & brokenness, Don’t. Join a group.”
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 only two photos — the only two photos on the my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag. It was ironic. It was funny,” Jones told CBS News on Tuesday, December 12. Jones vehemently denied any racist intent. “I’ve spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist,” she explained.
Those who know me and my family know we aren’t racist. My brother doesn’t say the “N” word. Please leave it alone
— Lakyn 🎄 (@Lakyn_Jones) December 11, 2017
Keaton’s sister Lakyn took to Twitter on Monday night to defend her mother. “Those who know me and my family know we aren’t racist,” she wrote. “My brother doesn’t say the ’N’ word. Please leave it alone.” A user replied with a screen shot of a 2013 tweet that read: “Black guys can just like go away. no one is ever gonna like you #DirtySouth.”
Lakyn also claims a phony Instagram page was set up in Jones’ name. The account was deactivated on Monday after MMA fighter Joe Schilling posted a screenshot of a racist conversation with a woman he believed was Jones. Schilling alleged that Jones was not satisfied with his offer to fly Keaton to Los Angeles to watch MMA show — and pressured him to plug a GoFundMe. When the athlete accused Jones of just wanting money, she allegedly responded: “What happened to us whites sticking together and helping one of another against the predator?”
The GoFundMe raised $58,000 but has since been shut down.
“The Instagram KimberlyJones_38 is Not my mom. She has a private Instagram and hasn’t talked to anyone,” Lakyn tweeted. “We haven’t received any money and don’t plan on it. The gofundme’s aren’t by any of us.”
But despite the dark turn, the video did what it was supposed to do. “It made me feel like I had accomplished something real,” Keaton told CBS News. “Something that could actually change the world.”