A video of a young boy pleading to be left alone by bullies has gone viral, prompting millions of people to show their support and urge the stamping out of bullying.
Keaton Jones, of Knoxville, Tennessee appeared in a video asking his mother: “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,” before adding “it’s not okay.”
Keaton’s mother responds, asking: “What did they say to you?”
“They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,” Keaton answered as tears started to roll down his cheeks.
“What did they do to you at lunch?” his mom asked.
Keaton replied: “Poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes. Threw bread at me.”
Incredibly, despite the horrific persecution he is facing, Keaton remains empathetic towards others who are being bullied at school.
“I don’t like that they do it to me and I for sure don’t like that they do it to other people because it’s not okay,” he told his mom “People that are different, don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault. If you are made fun of just don’t let it bother you. Stay strong I guess. It’s hard.”
Keaton’s remarkable character, honesty and resolve has captured the attention of several public figures, many of whom have invited him to come and hang out with them.
Popstar Justin Bieber took to Instagram to pay tribute to Keaton’s remarkable character. “The fact that he still has the sympathy and compassion for other people when he’s going through it himself is a testament to who he is,” Bieber said in a video. “This kid is all-time, his name is Keaton, go check him out.”
Later, Bieber posted a video clip of Keaton, adding the caption: “You got a friend in me Lil bro! Hit me on dm and we can chat!!! Love you buddy!!”
UFC president Dana White even invited Keaton to come out to Las Vegas and hang with him at the UFC headquarters. “Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone,” White posted to Twitter.
Later, he updated:
Thank u all for helping try to find Keaton. 1000% greatest post and response in my social media history. This kid is special and we all feel it. Dying to meet him!!
— Dana White (@danawhite) December 10, 2017
Donald Trump Jr. also lent his support to this brave young man, even offering him and his family a place to stay:
This boy is incredibly brave and the video really got to me. @danawhite, If he takes you up on your offer to see UFC Headquarters, I would be honored to host him and his family at our place if they need somewhere to stay. https://t.co/EWx05o0yI0
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 11, 2017
Keaton’s mother, Kimberly, has been bombarded with messages of support since the video of her son went viral over the weekend, garnering over 400,000 shares and 22 million views. On Saturday, she posted a message to Facebook, urging people to focus on the powerful message Keaton is trying to convey and encouraging people to help end bullying for good:
“Friends, overwhelmed is the understatement of the world right now. I love each of you for what you are doing, but there is literally no way I can respond or even read all of the messages,” she wrote on Facebook. “I know several of you have sent me groups or pages or individuals that you feel I really need to read & reply to, when I say even those are at least 100s, & I’ve gotten thousands besides those, it’s insane. I’m not trying to be rude, or ungrateful, I’m just overwhelmed & at the end of the day, this isn’t new for us, & we still have to truck on thru the day to day.”
“I have to prioritize & prepare my children, all 3 of them, for possible situations before I even begin to do anything else. I’m humbled by the voice my boy has been given, but he’s still just a little boy, & he’s a little boy who desperately wants acceptance, that I have to try to find a way to navigate him through the difference in true acceptance & attention. I know God has His hand in this, & I trust that the right things will happen in the right time. In the meantime, bear with us.”
Check out some more of the messages and invitations Keaton has received below:
.@lakyn_jones Hey Keaton, bullies are the ones with the problems NOT you. Many are bullied at home and pass it on. Cowards always need an audience. Be strong! I’ll come walk the hall and eat lunch with you anytime. #IstandwithKeaton #Keatonstrong #KeatonJones
— Dr. Phil (@DrPhil) December 10, 2017
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
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) December 10, 2017
Keaton-Don't waste time wondering why a bully would be so mean-They're sad people who think hurting others will make them feel better because they really don't like themselves-They're just jealous because you're so smart & handsome❤️Your friend-mh https://t.co/SUMw3OoCTm
— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 10, 2017
Keaton- your vulnerability, honesty and emotional intelligence already show how much more powerful, valuable, unique and human you are than any of the bullies you talked about. I have no doubt it will get better and we will all do our part to make sure it does. We love you. https://t.co/JN9hCU49pY
— Ben Platt (@BenSPLATT) December 10, 2017
Dear Keaton Jones, hopefully you see this. Your an amazing soul my man, never let ANYONE tell you otherwise! Keep your head up & chest out. Your a solider, always remember that.
— DeAndre Washington (@dwa5hington) December 10, 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