You’ve probably seen the video by now of Keaton Jones sharing a whole lot of wisdom and raw, honest emotion about being bullied at school.
Keaton is a student at Horace Maynard Middle School in Tennessee. His mom, Kimberly Jones, filmed him crying in the car. “Keaton asked to do this,” Jones wrote in a Facebook post, which is no longer publicly available.
She said this was after she picked him up because he was afraid to go to lunch – but this was not the first time she’s had to come to her son’s rescue.
In the video, Keaton says something truly profound:
“People that are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault. But if you are made fun of, just don’t let it bother you. Stay strong I guess. It’s hard. But it’ll probably get better one day.”
As a mentor to a 12-year-old girl who gets bullied constantly at school, this video broke my heart. To see another young soul suffering and attempting so desperately to understand the motives of those that torment him, it hits a heart-chord.
I was not alone in this response. The social and online audiences were moved by Keaton’s testimony and the outpouring of support for him was massive, with millions of views and thousands of shares. As the video continued to go viral, celebrities even reached out to him.
Thereby cementing his reputation as the coolest kid ever. I mean, if Millie Bobby Brown wants to be your friend, you’re pretty much set for life.
Keaton, this is so accurate. Why do people do this? I think your sooo cool Keaton! I wanna be your friend ( but srsly) ur freakin awesome ❤️ https://t.co/LD7Q762bL9
— Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebbrown) December 9, 2017
If you’re following this story closely, you know there’s been some backlash regarding Keaton Jones’ mom Kimberly and racist content.
Jones posted to Instagram on Dec. 11, saying “I hope you all can forgive her” and that she is a good person who, like all people, makes mistakes.
The post has since been removed.
USA TODAY also reported that since the video has gone viral, people have posed as Jones’ mother and family members and are fraudulently asking for donations.
Professional mixed martial artist Joe Schilling posted to Instagram saying he reached out to Jones’ mom but she only wanted money. Now someone on Twitter with the username @Lakyn_Jones, who says she is Jones’ sister, says the person Schilling was speaking to was not their mother.
A spokesman from GoFundMe told USA TODAY that the company is working with the fund creator, Joseph Lam, to ensure the money raised (that exceeded $56,000) goes to Jones.
Jones’ school principal also responded saying the bullying is “not as rampant as the video would have you believe. I can’t tell you what was done, but I can tell you action was taken with the children.” For the full story, check out the article on USA TODAY.
Often times, stories are not as simple or straightforward as they may seem on the surface. But one things stands true — A child was hurt from bullying and because he was brave enough to share that hurt, he now has started a bigger conversation about bullying.
His message touched people and it also opened the door to advocacy in a sweeping way by getting people, big voices and little voices to talk about it.
Patrick J Adams from ‘Suits’
We hear you #KeatonJones. I was bullied constantly growing up. And could never have put into words what you have. It does get better. And it gets better because of who are and what you know and how you share it with all of us. Thank you for your courage. https://t.co/P4cCQtkAnB
— Patrick J Adams (@halfadams) December 9, 2017
Patricia Arquette, who keeps asking what the principle is doing about it. Yes, she spelled it principle…
Keaton, I’m sorry those kids are being so mean. Unless people like that change they will end up having unhappy lives. I think you’re cool!
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) December 9, 2017
Basically the entire state of Tennessee
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
Always nice to have a superhero in your corner
Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
Professional bodyguard services offered
I need someone to connect me with this child’s family, please. I’ve been told he is from Knoxville.
Mr. Lewan is against bullying and willing to provide his services as a bodyguard.
— Nate Bain (@natebain) December 9, 2017
A country music star
— Cole Swindell (@coleswindell) December 10, 2017
English actor Will Poulter
I’m your friend, Keaton Jones. You’re a more intelligent and more compassionate human being than any of the people bullying you. I’m inspired by you and things will get better because you are speaking out. Love and strength to you, dude!
— Will Poulter (@PoulterWill) December 10, 2017
Every person at the UFC
Hey, #KeatonJones – you have friends here at the UFC, buddy. Today and everyday. #StandWithKeaton @Lakyn_Jones | @DC_MMA @TWooodley @FelderPaul @SugaRashadEvans @KennyFlorian pic.twitter.com/ZxX0cY1bu7
— UFC (@ufc) December 10, 2017
The Miss Hailee Steinfeld
— Hailee Steinfeld (@HaileeSteinfeld) December 10, 2017
Everyone’s favorite, Mark Ruffalo
Keaton, will you’ve my guest at the Premiere of #InfinityWar too? I think you are about one of the coolest kids I have ever seen! Can’t wait to meet you in person, pal. Forget those ignorant kids. One day, very soon, they are going to feel pretty stupid for this. https://t.co/BqJLxu25GN
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) December 11, 2017
Like All the Moms?