KNOXVILLE, Tennessee. – A Tennessee woman who posted a video of her crying son about being bullied at school, has appeared on national media to deflect accusations of racism.
Kimberly Jones told Good Morning America and CBS this morning on Tuesday that a photo of her family with a Confederate flag posted on social media was real, but that it does not make her a racist.
The photo surfaced on Monday, three days after Jones posted video of her son, Keaton, crying as he described being bullied at an East Tennessee middle school. In the video, Keaton said the other students call him ugly, make fun of his nose, and tell him he has no friends. He said milk poured on him and ham was laid his clothes.
“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?” Keaton said. “What’s the point? Why do they find joy in the taking of innocent people, and finding a way to be able to do for them? It is not OK.
“People who are different, do not need to be criticized about. It is not their fault. If you are having fun, just don’t let it bother you.”
The video had more than 18 million views on Sunday and prompted an outpouring of support from celebrities, including actor Chris Evans, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker of the University of Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd, a retired race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and singers Snoop Dog and Katy Perry.
The video also led to a review of Kimberly Jones’ social media accounts, including a post a picture of her and her family with a Confederate flag and an American flag, which prompted a backlash online.
“I feel like someone who wants to take the time to ask who I am or even troll by a number of other photos, I mean I feel like we are not racist,” Jones told ABC News. “(The photo) was meant to be ironic and funny, and extreme.”
She added, “I’m really, really sorry. If I could take it back I would.”
“I have said that I spend most of my life being bullied and judged because I’m not racist,” Jones told CBS News.
In a statement to the media, the Tennessee school district where Keaton is a student, said: ‘bullying is not allowed.
“We need to provide an academic environment that is safe, civil and supportive,” Union County Public Schools director James Carter said in the statement. “We do not and will not tolerate bullying and have a policy that addresses.
Principal Greg Clay, Horace Maynard Middle School, where the boy is enrolled, he said, was not aware of Jones being repeatedly bullied. He added that the incident described in the video was resolved weeks ago.
“It is not as rampant as the video would have you believe,” Clay said. “I can’t tell you what happened, but I can tell you action was taken with the children.”
On Tuesday, Keaton was a visit to the University of Tennessee campus. Tennessee football player Tyler Byrd tweeted a photo showing the boy shakes the hand of Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer.