An east Tennessee mother is speaking out after a video of her son being bullied went viral and the Internet accused her of being racist.
Kimberly Jones spoke to CBS This Morning Tuesday about her family’s quick rise to the spotlight this weekend when celebrities including LeBron James and Snoop Dogg reached out to her son Keaton and offered their support.
“I knew that it could be great and I knew that it could be awful,” she told CBS This Morning. “And it has been.”
While the video showing a tearful Keaton asking the world “why do they bully?” was being shared more than a million times, people on Twitter started digging into Kimberly Jones’ social media accounts and shared photos of Keaton’s mother standing next to Confederate flags. Another photo showed Keaton standing next to a Confederate flag.
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An emotional Kimberly Jones told CBS This Morning that the photos shared of her were “the only two photos on the entire planet” where she is “near a Confederate Flag.”
She assured the CBS This Morning reporter that it had nothing to do with racist intent and said she’s been bullied because she wasn’t racist.
On Monday, Kimberly Jones told Fox News that “she took down those photos for a reason.”
A GoFundMe site was allegedly shared by a fake Instagram account over the weekend in Keaton’s name. MMA fighter Joe Schilling says he reached out to the fake Instagram account offering his support, and the person posing as Kimberly Jones asked Schilling for money, saying, “what happened to us whites sticking together.”
A man named Joseph Lam, who is not affiliated with the family, set up the crowdfunding site and raised more than $60,000, according to Newsweek. Donations have been paused for the time being.
Lakyn Jones, Keaton’s older sister, said on Twitter Monday that her family isn’t racist and asked people to “leave it alone.”
Celebrities continued to rally for Keaton, including actor Patton Oswalt, who wrote on Twitter that Keaton didn’t choose his family.