On Dec. 8, Kimberly Jones filmed her son Keaton and posted the video to Facebook. The video shows a tearful Keaton explaining the bullying he experienced at his Tennessee school—as Kimberly asked questions about exactly what happened, Keaton couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around it. “Why do they bully? What’s the point?” He asked.
Once the internet got ahold of the clip, it quickly went viral. The video went through Facebook and Twitter like wildfire, so much so that even celebrities saw it. Actors from famous movie franchises, musicians and more all converged to extend support and love to the young boy.
Soon after, a GoFundMe page was started by someone named Joseph Lam, called “Stand up for Keaton.” As of this writing, the campaign (which says it is designed to help out Keaton’s family) has received almost $60,000. That’s when the controversy started.
Rumors began to swirl about the Jones family. It’s not clear exactly what the truth of it all is, but photos surfaced of Kimberly holding the Confederate flag in a Facebook post about “butt hurt Americans.” While Kimberly maintains that she is not racist, that the photos of her with the flag were not meant to be supportive of racial prejudice, questions began to be asked about her motives in creating the video. And perhaps in response to these photos, rumors began to run around Twitter that the reason Keaton was getting bullied was due to his own racial intolerance—but these rumors do not appear to be based on any evidence, as Keaton’s sister Lakyn has said family does not tolerate that kind of behavior. But rumors haven’t been known to stop just because of something like a lack of evidence.
And that’s when the imposters started to show up.
The New York Daily News
reports MMA fighter Joe Schilling posted an Instagram video explaining that he had been contacted by someone claiming to be Kimberly Jones. He said that this person repeatedly asked him for money, rather than a celebrity appearance. On top of that, Snopes reports that an Instagram account that claimed to represent the Jones family also popped up, and was denounced as fake on Twitter by Lakyn. The account has since been deleted.
Finally, multiple outlets admit that they have no real knowledge of Joseph Lam, nor of his connection to the family, if there is one. With all of these questions, rumors and allegations swirling, Lam or GoFundMe itself has apparently decided to freeze the account. It no longer accepts donations.
Regardless, it seems that this story has gotten all the media attention it could ever want, and then some. Along with an anti-bullying assembly reportedly scheduled at his middle school next week, Keaton has appeared on talk shows and has been invited to red carpet premieres. Plus there’s that small matter of the $60,000 that may or may not be headed his family’s way. You don’t need to give this saga any more attention. Go back to whatever else you were doing, which we hope was talking to your representative about how horrific this new tax bill is or begging the FCC and Congress not to fundamentally annihilate the internet as we know it.