Keaton Jones Opens Up in First Interview Since Bullying Video Went Viral
His overnight notoriety has led to questions about his mother's views.
Tennessee middle school student Keaton Jones says he was going through a "rough time" when he detailed the torment of bullies in an emotional video that made him an overnight internet darling.
The clip of a tearful Jones got the attention of Hollywood stars, celebrity singers and sports A-listers when he laid bare all the pain he's experienced as a result of the bullying.
"I don't like going back and thinking about it because that was awful," Keaton recalled to WVLT about the bullying that led his mom, Kimberly, to film her tearful son. "It made me feel awful about myself even."
Keaton said that the incident wasn't isolated, but part of a "pretty rough" time he's had with the other kids for his entire year at school. "It's been hard," he said,
His fortune appeared to change after the video was posted Friday and immediately became one of the most watched videos on social media.
"They make fun of my nose, they call me ugly," Keaton says in the video through tears. "I have no friends."
As the video was shared, dozens of celebrities posted messages of support for the boy.
"You got a friend in me lil bro," Justin Bieber wrote while sharing the video on Instagram.
Keaton also has a pal in Snoop Dogg.
"Say lil Man U gotta friend in me for life hit me on dm so we can chop it up love is the only way to beat hate," the rapper wrote on Instagram.
Even sports stars want to be his buddy. Tennessee Titans player Delanie Walker also reached out to Keaton and invited his family to an upcoming game.
And Captain America actor Chris Evans asked him to attend the 2018 premiere of Avengers: Infinity War with him.
"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?"
Keaton was overjoyed. "To know — wow — I have Captain America on my side... That is amazing," he told WVLT.
Another movie premiere invitation followed, as actress Hailee Steinfeld wrote on Twitter: "I would love for you, Keaton Jones, to be my date to the Pitch Perfect 3 premiere on Tuesday."
However, controversy surrounding Kimberly Jones quickly threatened to steal some of her son's thunder.
Kimberly Jones is under fire over photos featuring Confederate flags that were posted to Facebook before the video of her son sobbing.
Another image shows her son holding an American flag while a child standing next to him holds the Confederate flag.
She changed her Facebook page to private amid the backlash.
"I've taken that down for a reason," Kimberly Jones told Fox News of her Facebook page. She did not go into detail about the reason behind it.
Her daughter, Lakyn, later tweeted: "To those who think my mother is a racist, she is not. She is a southern woman who loves where she is from. This is about bullying my brother. Not her."
His interview with WVLT is the first he's given in the wake of controversy surrounding photos on social media where Keaton's mother is seen posing with a Confederate flag.
The video of Keaton Jones sobbing after his mom picked him up from school has been viewed millions of times after it was shared Friday.
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