Author: Isaac Weston (@isaacweston)
Kimberly Jones signed her son out of school Friday morning after he had another traumatizing experience with bullies. Following his unplanned early dismissal from Horace Maynard Middle School, Keaton—the victim—requested that his mother film a video of his story.
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
“Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them?” a distressed Keaton Jones asked his bullies. “It’s not okay.”
According to the video, the bullies make fun of his nose, call him ugly, and tell him he has no friends. But they do not stop at words.
“[They] poured milk on me, put ham down my clothes, and threw bread at me,” he said. But contrary to his shaking voice, sniffling nose, and tearing eyes, he ends the video with optimism and hope.
“It’s hard, but it will probably get better one day,” he said.
And that “one day” may have happened just one day after the video aired.
Within 24 hours of Jones posting the 75-second dialogue on her Facebook, Keaton’s circumstance radically evolved. On Friday he was a bully victim in the Knoxville suburbs. On Saturday he was the national face for anti-bullying campaigns.
Over this weekend, Keaton has gained a support group of a very prestigious caliber. Celebrities, musicians, writers, both college and professional athletes and other verified accounts have all reached out to the Jones family and offered their advocacy for Keaton.
Tennessee Volunteer football players spearheaded the movement by sharing their support and promising a visit to the school next Tuesday. Memphis Tigers players followed by getting in contact with Kimberly Jones and expressing a desire to hang out with Keaton and send him some gear.
Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker posted a video of encouragement for Keaton on Twitter, and tackle Taylor Lewan supported Walker’s motion to have the Titans invite the family to Nashville for the December 31 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Memphis Grizzlies small forward Chandler Parsons posted about Keaton on his Instagram. UFC president Dana White has reached out to Keaton and invited him to Las Vegas. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered his friendship to Keaton. Kelsea Ballerini, a Knoxville native, has told Keaton she will come eat lunch with him next time she is home. Cardi B posted her opinion about Keaton’s bullies and a screenshot of the video on her Instagram account. Bernice King, Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, has reached out to Keaton and told him how much he is loved. Millie Bobby Brown, more commonly known as Eleven from Stranger Things, has reached out to Keaton and offered her friendship. Jeffrey Dean Morgan from The Walking Dead has also communicated with Keaton. Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt retweeted the GoFundMe for Keaton’s college tuition, and according to SB Nation, he even donated $2,000 immediately upon watching the video.
So far, the GoFundMe account has acquired over $25,000. Kimberly Jones’ video has been viewed over 16.5 million times on Facebook. On Twitter, the video, which was shared by @Elijah_Official, has nearly 150,000 retweets and 300,000 likes.
If you would like to get involved, we will post all information to our Twitter. Here at Everything TN, we #StandWithKeaton.