By all accounts, Keaton Jones is a typical boy. He’s a middle school student from the Knoxville, Tenn., area. The only problem: Keaton gets bullied. A lot. Things have been so bad that he often has to ask his mother to pick him up from school. This past Friday, Keaton had another bad day of bullying, so he and his mother made this video.
“Why do they bully?” he asks at the start of the clip. “They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.” “What did they to you at lunch?” his mother, Kimberly Jones, can be heard asking off camera. Despite his distress, Keaton tries to offer some words of encouragement and strength for others who are suffering from similar treatment. “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,” he says, tears streaming down his face. “Stay strong, I guess. It’s hard, but it will probably get better one day.”
Perhaps it’s his effort to stay strong in the face of bullying, teasing, and abuse that has brought so many people to Keaton’s side. The original post of the video on Keaton’s mother’s Facebook account has been viewed over 15 million times as of this writing. More than 360,000 shares and 125,000 comments later, it appears that millions have been touched by Keaton’s story.
Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organization, shared it with his nearly 5 million followers early Sunday morning. His response was to invite Keaton to hang out at UFC headquarters. Perhaps he’ll be able to pick up a few ultimate fighting tips if he does pay them a visit.
Other athletes have rallied to Keaton’s corner, including Tennessee Titans football players like Delanie Walker, who posted a few words of wisdom for the boy and invited him and his family to a football game. Keaton’s notoriety isn’t limited to the sports world, however. Even rapper Cardi B joined in on the support in her own particular fashion: “Who ever goes to this boy school,” she commands. “If you pick on him you not even a bully YOU A STRAIGHT UP P***Y ASS PUNK ASS BITCH .Like how you pick on somebody who can’t defend them self ? THATS NOT GANGSTA !”
Keaton’s sister, who goes by @Lakyn_Jones on Twitter, has expressed the family’s gratitude for the massive outpouring of support and let us know that Keaton is “doing good and loving the awareness [of] his video.” What’s especially heartening about Keaton’s story and how he chose to reach out to family — and subsequently millions of others — is that he spoke up. In too many cases of bullying, children may keep their ordeals to themselves, and end up feeling as if they have no support or help, and in the most extreme cases, even take their own lives.
With the massive outpouring of support, something tells us Keaton’s bullies are in for an unpleasant surprise come school’s opening bell on Monday.