Sure, Keaton Jones could've played us all for fools. The young Tennessee boy who was filmed by his mother describing how he was bullied at school captivated a nation.
His story went viral, a GoFundMe page raised close to $60,000 for him, and everyone from Captain America (i.e. Chris Evans) to Snoop Dogg reached out to Jones sending their support and even inviting him to hang out. It was a warm and fuzzy story.
But like all good stories in 2017, this one is turning out to be a "Milkshake Duck." Or is it?
Several users on the Internet discovered that Keaton's mother, Kimberly Jones, shared several posts on social media of her posing with the Confederate flag while mocking others who are taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans and trying to lobby for criminal justice reform.
Keaton Jones MOM is a next level racist who's posted in many offensive and non remorseful comments towards black people, so how is she preaching about bullying when she herself is a bully ???????????? lmao people are funny pic.twitter.com/bTnF7BFDGr— Queen Mel ???????? (@BLVCKMATTERS) December 11, 2017
Certainly, this raises questions about what Kimberly's intent was in making her son the poster boy in combatting bullying when she herself could be construed as a bully. It's certainly possible that Jones was genuine in sharing her son's story to raise awareness about bullying, but then MMA fighter Joe Schilling posted a video onto his Instagram of a conversation he had with Jones' mother. During that exchange, Schilling suggested that Keaton's mother was just a money-grubber and is running a scam after he offered to fly out Keaton and his mother to hang with him in Los Angeles.
But there's more to the story than that. The family has been disputing that they've been set up and that Kimberly's Facebook and Instagram accounts are fake.
Important note: This article by @YeshaCallahan irresponsibly uses a clearly fake account to smear the family of the bullied kid, Keaton Jones, as racists seeking money: https://t.co/ORjruqPMFt 1/— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) December 11, 2017
The article links to this Insta screenshot of an exchange with a different account, butSchilling admits that he doesn't know if its the mom. https://t.co/91l0kE3HEK— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) December 11, 2017
The "mom's" account was just created yesterday, is just soliciting money, and has no other connection to the family. The confirmed sister made clear that these account's have no connection to the family. Using this is completely irresponsible.— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) December 11, 2017
Kimberly's daughter Lakyn has said the Instagram account that's being referenced to discredit the intentions of Kimberly and Keaton is fake.
That is not my moms instagrram. Her’s is private and she hasn’t been posting anything— Lakyn ???? (@Lakyn_Jones) December 11, 2017
At the moment, it's incredibly difficult to parse what's real and what's fake. If the Joneses took us all for a ride to earn a quick buck and 15 minutes of fame, then we all look like fools for falling for such a story. On the bright side, bullying will continue to get exposed. It's not like the anti-bullying movement hinged on the account of what Keaton was going through.
Keep an open mind on the Joneses. Give them the benefit of the doubt. If we find out that Kimberly is actually a horrible person, then we shouldn't punish Keaton for the sins of his mother. He's just a kid.
But remind yourselves that when individuals and families get suddenly famous, there are going to be people out there who try to ride the gravy train no matter what and have no regard for the damage they do to families like the Joneses.