Viral Video of Bullied Boy Keaton Jones Disappears from Social Media Amid Accusations About His Family

Anti-bullying Keaton Jones viral video taken down amid family controversy

Over the weekend, an emotional anti-bullying appeal from young student Keaton Jones swept social media and attracted the attention from A-list Hollywood stars, athletes, and other celebrities.

It was an inspirational example of social media's ability to do good, but unfortunately the feel-good story has taken a troubling turn that adds yet more credence to the darker side of the medium.

In the original video, which has now been taken down, Knoxville boy Keaton Jones breaks down into tears as he describes the cruel bullying he'd experienced in school. Watch a re-posted version below:

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This video was shared thousands of times on social media since Friday, with stars ranging from Avengers: Infinity War actor Chris Evans and Mark Hamill to Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown and Zedd offering support for Keaton.

But on Monday, the story took an uncomfortable turn when a series of allegations about Keaton's family were unearthed by those looking deeper into the story.

The day started off with confusion when multiple online fundraising campaigns popped up, each claiming to be raising money for Keaton. It was never clear why they were raising money, since it didn't factor into the bullying incident.

Others uncovered what they allege to be old Facebook posts in which Keaton's mother posed her children with the Confederate flag. There were also racially insensitive comments about black people in other messages.

A Twitter page purportedly belonging to Keaton's sister Lakyn has since disputed the authenticity of multiple social media accounts claiming to raise money for her family, and denied that her mother was responsible for the racially insensitive social media posts.

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Deadline also reported Monday that Keaton's middle-school principal Gregory Clay told the press that bullying isn't "as rampant as the video would have you believe" among his students. Clay also claimed that he'd already disciplined those boys who targeted Keaton.

Several social media accounts purportedly belonging to the family were deleted, along with the original video, on Monday.

One GoFundMe page titled "Stand Up for Keaton" has also been frozen with a total of $57,031, and now carries the message "No Longer Accepting Donations."

The person who set the page up confirmed they had paused donations and comments on the fundraiser following Monday's reports, adding: "I'm in touch with GFM on how to proceed at this point."

Justin Harp is Digital Spy’s US-based Night News Editor covering all things entertainment on West Coast time.