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Bullied teen’s heartbreaking video is shared 22 million times

Cerith Gardiner - published on 12/11/17

Justin Bieber, Chris Evans, and other celebrities are using their popularity to spread this important message.

When Keaton Jones made an emotional video highlighting the pain he suffers from bullying at school, it had many of us shedding a tear on his behalf. The video that was posted on Facebook has now had over 22 million views and is gaining overwhelming support from the celebrity world, including Justin Bieber, the young teen actress Millie Bobby Brown, and Captain America himself, Chris Evans, to name just a few.

But today, accusations are being floated as to the mother’s motives, calling many to scrutinize the authenticity of the incident. The school principal responded that the bullying issues Keaton referred to were dealt with weeks ago and that the bullying there “is not as rampant as the video would have you believe.” Numerous fake social media accounts seemed to pop up claiming to be Keaton or Kimberly, and at least one GoFundMe page — apparently not associated with the Jones family — has raised more than $57,000 before it was shut down on Monday, and apparently GoFundMe is working with the creator to make sure the money is dealt with properly. Kimberly Jones made her Facebook page private on Monday in response to the backlash.

Whatever the mother’s story will eventually reveal, it’s hard to believe that Keaton’s video, which Kimberly filmed in the car, was not authentic. “For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch,” she said.

Behind the tears, Keaton shares how fellow middle-schoolers “make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.” The bullying gets physical too, with kids pouring milk on him and putting ham down his clothes. Keaton also uses the video to question why kids would do such a thing: “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?” He points out: “Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them? It’s not okay.”

Keaton Jones Bully Video
Guardian News | YouTube

Selflessly, he addresses other victims of bullying too: “I don’t like that they do it to me. And I, for sure, don’t like that they do it to other people, ’cause it’s not okay!” He reminds everyone that “people that are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault.”

And celebrities have responded in force. Not only are they offering support, encouragement, understanding, and gifts; they’re giving their time, their friendship and their love — the ultimate antidote to bullying.

Justin Bieber encouraged his fans to watch the video by sharing it to his Instagram account, which has 94.6m followers, saying: “This kid is all-time. He’s a legend. Go check him out. His name’s Keaton.” In his own video the pop star said: “The fact that he still has sympathy and compassion for other people when he’s going through it himself is a testament to who he is.” Within eight hours, Bieber’s video had been watched 2.7 million times. On top of that, Bieber also reached out to Keaton to contact him directly.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)

Actor Chris Evans sent some sound advice and an exciting invitation: “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?”

While other celebrities took to Twitter to offer their help, with UFC fighter Tim Kennedy posting: “I’m not good at many things but I’m decent with bullies,” adding, “If you ever need a sidekick, let me know, I’ll be there.”

Snoop Dogg also joined in with an offer of friendship and with a reminder we could all do with remembering sometimes: “… love is the only way to beat hate.”

Suits actor Patrick A. Adams openly shared his experience with bullying: “I was bullied constantly growing up. And could never have put into words what you have. It does get better because of who you are and what you know and how you share it with all of us. Thank you for your courage.”

While Keaton has inadvertently picked up some celebrity friends, he’s also found a “big brother” in the form of the Tennessee quarterback, Jarrett Guarantano, who tweeted: “So I got the chance to spend the day with my new best bud Keaton. … Now I have the little brother I always wanted! God bless you my man.” Some of Guarantano’s teammates are planning to visit Keaton at school on Tuesday. Somehow we think those bullies will get the message that harassment is not cool, and, as Keaton simply puts, “not okay.”

In the meantime, an overwhelmed Kimberly updated her Facebook page with the message: “I’m humbled by the voice my boy has been given.” Until we have more facts, we shouldn’t judge Kimberly or anyone in this situation. And hopefully, she will have learnt something from the outpouring of love her son has received from all walks of life. 

Read more:
Forgiving Bullies: A Letter from Lamb to Wolves

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