By now you've likely seen the heartbreaking video of a boy named Keaton Jones crying and pleading with school bullies to leave him alone.
The sixth-grader from Knoxville, Tennessee, had reportedly been bullied so badly during lunchtime at his school that his mother, Kimberly, had to pick him up just to give him a reprieve last week. That's when she began filming her son, asking him why he thinks his bullies pick on him specifically.
“They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,” he said, adding that he wasn't the only target of mean-spirited teasing and humiliation.video-player-present
His mother then posted the video, seemingly with the purpose of raising awareness about bullying and how it affects kids who feel like they don't fit in.
Millions, including famous celebrities, watched the viral video. They also rallied around Keaton with words of comfort and support, even taking the time to meet him and show him he isn't alone.
You are the MAN #KeatonJones. That video is powerful and correct. Bullying is not okay. ✊🏾— terrycrews (@terrycrews) December 11, 2017
I #StandwithKeaton. Keaton baby, just know you’re not alone. There are so many people who come out of bullying so much stronger and you will be one of them!! God bless you sweetheart. https://t.co/LdCAy2lDHu— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) December 11, 2017
Actor Chris Evens also offered to bring Keaton and his mom to his movie premiere.
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
However, this feel-good story became tainted when several of Kimberly's Facebook posts came to light, in which she and her children posed next to a Confederate flag. She's since made the page private. Some people have even accused Keaton of using racial slurs against his classmates, though there's no proof this is actually true.