Country Artists #StandWithKeaton

Emotional Online Video Raises Awareness About Bullying

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.

This broke my today. Please be kind to one another. #standwithkeaton

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Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.