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The Mom Of Boy With A Viral Message About Bullying Is Being Accused Of Exploitation And Bullying

There is controversy surrounding Keaton Jones' mother, and apparent strangers purporting to be Keaton's mother trying to cash in on the viral moment.

Last updated on December 11, 2017, at 3:10 p.m. ET

Posted on December 11, 2017, at 3:10 p.m. ET

Following an outpouring of support from concerned citizens and celebrities toward Keaton Jones — the young boy who was recorded speaking emotionally about being bullied — new controversy surrounding Keaton's mother has dramatically changed the narrative.

Hi @Lakyn_Jones, could you pass this message along to Keaton? ❤

Keaton's mother, Kimberly Jones, of Tennessee, recorded and shared a video to Facebook on Friday of her young son tearfully talking about being bullied by classmates at school.

The video had amassed well over 17 million views over the weekend, but his mom has since removed it.

On social media, celebrities and others are continuing to show compassion for Keaton and standing against bullying.

Kimberly Jones has not responded to BuzzFeed News inquiries, and she's deleted or privatized most of her social media presence. However, someone running an Instagram account claiming to be her has been responding to followers of Keaton's story and sharing donation channels for Keaton.

On Sunday, the account @kimberlyjones_38 reshared the viral video of Keaton along with a vague description of a tenuous relationship with Keaton's father. "For those that don't know Keaton's father isn't in he's [sic] life and we are been going through Soo much with Keaton's school and personal things I can't discuss at this time. So if you could PayPal me anything. I'll gladly appreciate the help & donation," she wrote.People have also created other donation channels for Keaton and her mother. One GoFundMe campaign titled "Stand Up for Keaton," created by a man named Joseph Lam, has raised over $58,000 of a $20,000 goal.A spokesperson for GoFundMe told BuzzFeed News they are in contact with Lam "to ensure all of the funds raised go to Keaton."
instagram.com

On Sunday, the account @kimberlyjones_38 reshared the viral video of Keaton along with a vague description of a tenuous relationship with Keaton's father.

"For those that don't know Keaton's father isn't in he's [sic] life and we are been going through Soo much with Keaton's school and personal things I can't discuss at this time. So if you could PayPal me anything. I'll gladly appreciate the help & donation," she wrote.

People have also created other donation channels for Keaton and her mother. One GoFundMe campaign titled "Stand Up for Keaton," created by a man named Joseph Lam, has raised over $58,000 of a $20,000 goal.

A spokesperson for GoFundMe told BuzzFeed News they are in contact with Lam "to ensure all of the funds raised go to Keaton."

However, drama unfolded in strange and sudden succession on Monday when Kimberly's alleged Instagram account shared its own GoFundMe for Keaton to undercut and spite Lam's initial GoFundMe effort. (The "Give My Son A Good Christmas" campaign has since been deleted.)

instagram.com

"I must repeat, this is my only 'GoFundMe' account! Some dude started a GoFundMe without my permission and raising money off my son without reaching out to me. I don't approve of that GoFundMe account. This is my only one," the caption read, before linking to a now-defunct GoFundMe account.

(The bio in the Instagram account also includes a link to PayPal for donation efforts.)

The Instagram post has now been deleted — but not before the public raised an eyebrow to it all.

People in the comments wondered why "Keaton's mother" would be trying to raise money and what the funds would be used for.

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Some cast doubt over whether the Instagram post or account was authentic. They began directing people to another Instagram account claiming to be Kimberly.

This account had a verified check, 126,000 followers, and a different PayPal account in the bio.
Instagram

This account had a verified check, 126,000 followers, and a different PayPal account in the bio.

However, the handle @_taylormadeq has had ties to different personalities and photos in the past.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to both accounts and flagged the accounts to Instagram. PayPal has also been made aware of the different PayPal accounts tied to these different Instagram accounts. The company told BuzzFeed News they are investigating the matter.
Instagram / via Twitter: @ash_bailey6163

BuzzFeed News has reached out to both accounts and flagged the accounts to Instagram.

PayPal has also been made aware of the different PayPal accounts tied to these different Instagram accounts. The company told BuzzFeed News they are investigating the matter.

Lakyn Jones, a woman claiming to be Keaton's sister and Kimberly's daughter, told BuzzFeed News the account @kimberlyjones_38 "is not affiliated with me or my family."

The two accounts now seem to be interacting with each other — but the original @kimberlyjones_38 account maintains that they are the real Kimberly Jones and have asked followers to report @_taylormadeq.

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And if that's not enough, here's another twist: Before Kimberly's Facebook account was privatized, people claim to have discovered and screenshotted photos of the family holding the Confederate flag, as well as a Facebook post railing against those who protest the Confederate and/or American flag.

This doesn’t mean that the bullied kid should be bullied, but we should be aware of who we are centering. Again.

Kimberly Jones's alleged posts are being called racist (comments on her alleged Instagram are also flooded with similar labels).

Keaton Jones MOM is a next level racist who's posted in many offensive and non remorseful comments towards black pe… https://t.co/XxlsLXtHVb

Some quickly clarified to say they are not holding these new revelations against Keaton — but "towards your hypocritical, potentially racist mother who is using this for financial gain," one person wrote.

Just to clarify, the hate isn’t directed towards Keaton. It’s towards your hypocritical, potentially racist mother… https://t.co/mAqFN0pB78

"My heart goes out to anyone dealing with bullying, but wassup with the racist images on Keaton Jones' mom's facebook page? Wouldn't that kinda make her a bully too?"

My heart goes out to anyone dealing with bullying, but wassup with the racist images on Keaton Jones' mom's faceboo… https://t.co/YXydRqy5gL

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While the footage of Keaton and his message about bullying continues to make a powerful impact online, people are questioning his mother's motives for filming him.

I’ve long been of the opinion that folks who put their children’s emotional breakdowns on YouTube are bad people so… https://t.co/PrKVzinUeU

Some are saying that if the allegations against Kimberly are true, they hope it could be a teachable moment for her as well.

His mom may be a terrible person, but Keaton still doesnt deserve to be bullied, no child does. I hope his mom gets… https://t.co/qKTAAYntpA

UPDATE: Kimberly and Keaton appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday and addressed the controversy. About the Confederate flag photos, Kimberly said they were meant to be "ironic and funny and extreme."

Backlash over viral bullying video of Keaton Jones as mother's alleged online posts with the Confederate Flag spark… https://t.co/xrD90KZ2p7

“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,” she said.

“It was meant to be ironic and funny and extreme. I am genuinely, truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would."

Kimberly said she wants the final message amid the controversy to be about childhood bullying. "If they want to hate me and whatever that’s fine, but still talk to your kids,” she added. “Because [bullying] is an epidemic.”

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