Celebrities, politicians and athletes (as well as basically everyone on the internet) have rallied behind a teenager from Tennessee who cried on camera after being bullied and called ‘ugly’ at school. On Friday, Keaton Jones’ mum Kimberly posted a video of her son with tears streaming down his face as he explained how other kids poured milk over him and put ham down his clothes.
In the heartbreaking clip, which has been viewed more than 22 million times on Facebook, Keaton says: “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them? It’s not OK.
“They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends. They poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes. Threw bread at me.
“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 but it will probably get better one day.”
His mum Kimberly Jones wrote alongside the video: “For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch. My kids are by no stretch perfect… but by all accounts he’s good at school. Talk to your kids.
“We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.”
Now, thousands of people have stood up in solidarity with the bullied teen including actors and sports stars.
Justin Bieber said on Instagram: “You got a friend in me Lil bro! Hit me on dm and we can chat!!! Love you buddy!!” Snoop Dogg added that Keaton “has a friend for life” and that “love is the only way to beat hate”.
Chris Evans even invited Keaton to the premiere of the next Avengers film. The actor said on Twitter: “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?”
Terry Crews wrote: “You are the MAN #KeatonJones. That video is powerful and correct. Bullying is not okay.” And Star Wars legend Mark Hamill added: “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.”
Demi Lovato said: “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.” And Katy Perry added: “This broke my heart today. Please be kind to one another.”
Keaton even got support from high profile politicians including Senator Bob Corker, from Tennesse, who wrote: “Keaton, I know Tennesseans and people across our country join me in saying thank you for your courage. Bullying isn’t acceptable, especially in our schools. We’re all with you! #StandWithKeaton”