Bullying victim and East Tennessean Keaton Jones started his school week with a small army of new celebrity friends.
An emotional video of the 11-year-old opening up about being bullied at school has gone viral online and started a new national conversation about the issue. The video posted by his mother Kimberly Jones has been viewed more than 21 million times.
Through tears, Jones says, “Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not OK.”
He then opened up about the abuse he endured at lunch, saying his bullies poured milk on him and threw bread at him. “They make fun of my nose,” he says. “They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”
He ends the video with a message to all bullies and their victims. “People are different, don’t need to be criticized about it,” he says. “It’s not your fault if you are made fun of; just don’t let it bother you. Stay strong, I guess. It’s hard. It’ll probably get better one day.”
The video generated several messages of support from Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne, Brent Cobb, Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Janson, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Gal Gadot, Justin Bieber and more.
Jones met with University of Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano over the weekend. Guarantano shared online, “It was unbelievable to get to know him and realize that we have a lot in common. This dude is very special and has changed my life forever. Now I have the little brother I always wanted!”
A GoFundMe fundraiser for Jones has raised more than $58,000.
Every parent should show their kids this video.. my mom or dad woulda kicked my ass if I bullied other kids and you should punch your own face if your kid does this shit! Lazy ass parenting. This is a special kid, and his self awareness is pretty unique for someone his age. Thanks for sending my way kristin. Show your damn kids the video and how not to treat people.
So I got the chance to spend the day with my new best bud Keaton. It was unbelievable to get to know him and realize that we have a lot in common. This dude is very special and has changed my life forever. Now I have the little brother I always wanted! God bless you my man pic.twitter.com/vMHVtnf2rC
— Jarrett Guarantano (@BroadwayJay2) December 11, 2017
Stay strong Keaton. Takes a lot of courage to send such an honest message like this to the world. For anyone being bullied out there, it WILL get better. Until then, there are two 6 foot 4 inch brothers that have your back. https://t.co/Ye25jyYymJ
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) December 11, 2017
THIS BOY. Talk to your children, y’all. I’m 27 and STILL deal with this nonsense. Enough bullying. Enough cowardly online hate. We’re human beings. Be brave like Keaton. https://t.co/D13U1qYyGU
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) December 11, 2017
No tolerance for Bullying. Keaton is a Brave kid. This destroys me. https://t.co/GmmtJuLZjK
— Lucie Silvas (@LucieSilvas) December 11, 2017
buddy next time I make it home to Knox I'm going to walk into that lunchroom with you and watch the bullies say they are sorry to you. you don't deserve that. keep your head up and continue to be kind…you will always Come out on top. sending a hug. https://t.co/fZn2hbMPKp
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) December 10, 2017
Boy, love this kid. Takes major strength and courage to be this cool. Proud of you Keaton. Invite me to lunch with you…..please. https://t.co/OLhhYIYLg6
— Chris Janson (@janson_chris) December 11, 2017
Can’t wait to hear a statement from Keaton’s school. Their lawyers must not work on weekends! #standwithkeaton
— David Nail (@davidnail) December 11, 2017
— Cole Swindell (@coleswindell) December 10, 2017
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) December 11, 2017
Why are folks so damn mean? This dude seems like such a kind and thoughtful soul. Could be a once in a lifetime true friend to a lot of people. There's gotta be a way to make lovin' the cool thing to do. https://t.co/6nwpgWA19K
— Brent Cobb (@Brent_Cobb) December 10, 2017
Keaton, I don’t know 1 person that wasn’t bullied growing up & sadly I don’t know many that aren’t bullied still as adults. Bullying has become a part of our culture. As a society we have failed u & those kids bullying u. We need 2 raise the bar w/human decency @ the very least. https://t.co/iO2QaQAcLD
— Kelly Clarkson (@kelly_clarkson) December 11, 2017
Keaton, will you’ve my guest at the Premiere of #InfinityWar too? I think you are about one of the coolest kids I have ever seen! Can’t wait to meet you in person, pal. Forget those ignorant kids. One day, very soon, they are going to feel pretty stupid for this. https://t.co/BqJLxu25GN
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) December 11, 2017
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? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
— Hailee Steinfeld (@HaileeSteinfeld) December 10, 2017