The internet can be an amazing thing. Sure, there are the haters and the shamers, but there are also those who will stand up for you, even if they don’t know you. Sometimes, these people turn out to be celebrities, who, with a quick word on Twitter or Instagram, try to get you through your day. This is what several celebrities recently did for a kid named Keaton Jones. They rallied around him instantly after he admitted to being severely bullied. But, as it turns out, these celebrities may have been too quick to judge.
Keaton is a young boy from Tennessee who achieved viral fame is less than 24 hours. That’s because his mother posted a video of her son crying after being bullied at school. The video, which has now been deleted, is heart-breaking to watch.
In the video, Keaton asks why bullies do such mean things. “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them?” the young boy asks.
“They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends," Keaton adds. But he doesn’t stop at complaining. Keaton ends with a strong message, saying, “People that are different don't need to be criticized about it, because it's not their fault. If you are made fun of, just don't let it bother you.”
“Stay strong, Keaton,” tweeted Chris Evans, adding, “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?”
“Little buddy, I was bullied when I was a kid. You are right #ItGetsBetter! You are my own personal super hero. Protect Yo Heart. You got a pal in the Hulk,” tweeted Mark Ruffalo. All great messages, sure, but now another side of the story is coming out about Keaton and his family.
The story revolves around Keaton’s estranged father, who is reportedly a white supremacist. Shawn White is currently in jail, but before being incarcerated, he enjoyed posting white supremacist images and ideologies on social media. Let’s just say he made sure everyone learned where his preferences lie.
For starters, there are some photos of White that show his tattoos. The one on his chest says “Pure Breed” and the one on his stomach says “White Pride.” He also has a “CWD” tattoo on his neck “which is a common abbreviation for the gang ‘Crazy White Boy.’”
Besides the tattoos, White was also photographed wearing pro-Nazi symbols. In 2012, he posted a photo of himself wearing a sweater with the SS symbol of Nazi Germany. Moreover, he has referred to the Aryan Brother (a white supremacist prison gang) as “a family.”
But despite their father’s white supremacist tendencies, Keaton’s family members are distancing themselves from White. Lakyn Jones, Keaten’s older sister, told her followers, “You all can go look back at every tweet from every father’s & mother’s day to see that all we have is our mom. We have no contact with our dads. BECAUSE of their actions. That’s why all the articles say ‘estranged’ because we don’t talk to them. Leave us alone.”
Then, when a photo of the whole family holding a Confederate flag surfaced, Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones had to make her own statement: “I feel like anybody who wants to take the time to ask anybody who I am or even troll through some other pictures, I mean I feel like we’re not racist. It was meant to be ironic and funny … I am genuinely truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would.”
And that’s the fact that the video still applies. There’s no excuse for bullying someone. Not for the way they look, their beliefs, or the color of their skin. If we start making exceptions for who we can bully, then we’re just as bad as everyone else.