An online fundraising page for Keaton Jones, the boy who spoke emotionally about being bullied in a video that received support from countless celebrities, has been put on hold following accusations of racism against his mother, Kimberly.
Keaton touched hearts around the world, including with Justin Bieber, Avengers Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, after he was too scared to go to lunch at school and spoke about his experience with bullies. In the video, he asked: "Why do you enjoy taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It's not okay."
Since the video went viral, an image emerged of Jones posing with a Confederate flag on his mother's Facebook account.
American media personality Tariq Nasheed posted a screenshot showing the photos and a post by Kimberly telling "butt hurt Americans" to "stop crying". Nasheed said: "That viral video of #KeatonJones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child. But his mom, Kimberly on the other hand, is a suspected racist who makes very problematic posts bullying Black protesters #TheIrony."
Keaton's older sister, Lakyn, tweeted in response to the accusations: "Those who know me and my family know we aren't racist. My brother doesn't say the "N" word. Please leave it alone."
A GoFundMe page, which had been set up in Keaton's honour, stopped accepting donations after receiving $57,031. It is unclear what the money was actually for.
Joseph Lam, who set up the page but is unassociated with the Jones family and is now in touch with GoFundMe about how to proceed, said the page's closure was "not about the mom". He added: "I can't even say for sure that any of whats being said is true. I don't know the family personally and never claimed to have known them.
"This is about a kid who's been bullied and not just one kid, Keaton, there are many unspoken cases about kids being bullied. We have to be the voice for the voiceless. In the video I saw a kid crying not just for himself but for others. To me that's a kid with a heart of gold and deserves praise. I'm hoping that we can turn the money into something good whether it be for private school or college fund."
Lakyn said the family did not plan on receiving any money as part of their viral fame and that an Instagram account in her mother's name, which was the subject of some of the allegations, was fake.
She wrote: "The Instagram KimberlyJones_38 is NOT my mom. She has a private Instagram and hasn't talked to anyone. We haven't received any money and don't plan on it. The Gofundmes aren't by any of us."
Bellator MMA fighter Joe Schilling claimed to have exchanged messages with Kimberly on that Instagram account and was surprised by her reaction to his offer to take Keaton to a Bellator event.
In an Instagram video that has since been deleted, he said: "I feel pretty stupid right now. I was pretty moved by Keaton Jones video so I reached out to his mom and was going to bring him out to LA for a Bellator event that's coming up, big show, and and introduce him to the fighters, be his friend, and she just wants money. She just wants me to share her GoFund me account."
Schilling later conceded that it may have been someone pretending to be Kimberly, writing: "Now this might be a fake account pretending to be his mom. But this person who is doing the GoFundMe account needs to be put on blast." This second post has also been deleted.
Kimberly told Fox News Schilling's claims were "untrue," adding: "I did not tell him that I would rather have donations instead of the help from celebrities."
Jones' Facebook page privacy settings were changed to private on Monday, meaning the original video of her son was unavailable. She told Fox News: "I've taken that down for a reason," without disclosing what the reason is.