As the fallout over Keaton Jones’ mother continues, celebrities have pulled their support for the bullied boy. And now, his mother is speaking out on accusations of racism.
Keaton, 11, went viral over the weekend for tearfully explaining how bullies have tormented him. He garnered big-name support from Cardi B and LeBron James among others. But that support has dwindled since Confederate flag photos from Kimberly Jones’ Facebook page surfaced.
Today, Rihanna and Chris Brown have pulled their messages of support for Keaton from their social media pages.
Rihanna replaced her post with one about two young girls who recently died of suicide because of bullying.
Just heartbreaking!!!!! We're losing our babies to bullying!!! Teach your kids love and equality. Teach them about the beauty in uniqueness and how to embrace others' differences! I can't imagine what the families of these 2 young girls are feeling right now! But my heart breaks for you!! #BulliesKill
And Brown called out Jones’ Confederate flag imagery.
Twitter users have chimed in about the 180.
The mother was just trying to get money. They’re right for not supporting a hoax.
— Phill. (@PdotHALL) December 12, 2017
Celebrities please do not withdraw your invitations. Let Keaton know there is more to what he has been taught. You have the power. #KeatonJones If his mother refuses, let it be. You have done your part.
— Ro Butler (@Miss_Leigh_) December 12, 2017
They have also called on other celebs to pull away from Keaton.
@MarkRuffalo @ChrisEvans you are now responsible for educating #Keaton Jones on why racism is the enemy within our own hearts. Or withdraw your invitations. This could be a learning experience for him. But I wonder why no invitations to family of black 10yo girl who hanged self?
— ThronelessKingz (@ThronelessKingz) December 12, 2017
Anyone who gave money to Keaton Jones and his mom on go fund me, needs to take it back. NOW before these racists use it to promoter he evil in their hearts. Disgusting. Every celebrity PLEASE withdraw your offers. The mom said “I only want money.” https://t.co/dWO34CTMbl
— janelleglickman (@janelleglickman) December 11, 2017
One person didn’t think that was realistic, however.
Do you really think any celeb is gonna publicly withdraw their support for #KeatonJones after learning his family is racist? Hell no. Of course they're going to give you the "rise above" clichés. They're not gonna admit "We done fucked up and jumped on the bandwagon too fast."
— That 🐬 in a tuna net (@HippieChic82) December 11, 2017
And while other celebs like Snoop Dogg and Cleveland Cavaliers star JR Smith have not deleted their messages, the two GoFundMe pages launched to assist Keaton have been deleted, according to USA Today, or put on hold. The latter, called “Stand up for Keaton,” was launched by New Jersey resident Joseph Lam on behalf of Jones. It had raised nearly $57,000 in three days.
Related: GoFundMe Controversies
As a result of the backlash, Jones appeared on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday, Dec. 11 to address the criticism.
“The only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag,” Jones says of the photos, which many have deemed her racist for. “It was ironic, it was funny.”
When asked if there was any racist intent behind them, Jones remained firm.
“No, no, absolutely not,” she says. “I’ve spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist.”
Online, several continued to criticize Jones.
@GayleKing Yeah ok, confederate flags are joke, so let’s all take a pic with it and have a laugh, it’s ok!! Please!! Shame about her son, but what about the little 10 yo black girl that committed suicide from bullying!! No out cry for her!! SMH
— ♔Princess (@Princess6533) December 12, 2017
Why didn’t y’all ask her about the gofundme page she started? Her son was rumored to have called black kids the”N”word. Confederate flag as a joke? Yea right! They suckered people into donating money to them. I am sooo happy I didn’t fall for this lie.
— Jacqueline Johnson (@hotchef9) December 12, 2017
Thanx u saved me some time finding it cuz I just watched them on tv and this wasn’t mentioned
— Kevin Hoye (@KevinHoye608) December 12, 2017
I read that this is a scam! Blame it on Mom, the school is very upset and this mother needs money and used her son! Watch what you do people on social media! A very good tool for scam artist at any cost! The holidays are here🎄
— Susan H (@dustyrose11) December 12, 2017
Keaton told the morning news program it was his idea to make the clip and that he did not tell Horace Maynard Middle School administrators that he was being bulled because “I was afraid that [bullies] would for sure attack.”
Principal Greg Clay confirmed to USA Today he did not know about Keaton being continuously bullied and said the milk pouring-incident Keaton described in the video had been resolved weeks ago.
“It’s not as rampant as the video would have you believe,” Clay said. “I can’t tell you what was done, but I can tell you action was taken with the children.”
The school board said, “We do not and will not tolerate bullying and have a policy in place that addresses conduct taking place on school grounds.”