The mother of bullied schoolboy Keaton Jones has insisted her family are not racists after they were pictured on social media with confederate flags.
Nine-year-old Keaton, from Knoxville, Tennessee, became an internet celebrity over the weekend after a video of him talking about how he was bullied was posted on Facebook by his mother, Kimberly.
But after an initial wave of support and goodwill online, Ms Jones was accused of racist behaviour by several people online.
Pictures from her Facebook page showed her and her family posing with the confederate flag. However, she denied she was a racist.
She told ABC News’ Good Morning America: ‘I feel like anybody who wants to take the time to ask anybody who I am or even troll through some other pictures, I mean I feel like we’re not racist. I mean, people that know us, know that.’
In a separate interview with CBS This Morning, Ms Jones said: ‘The only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a confederate flag.’
She claimed she had been bullied in the past because she ‘wasn’t racist’.
Earlier, a GoFundMe page for the child was put on hold after it raised $57,000 (£43,000).
Joseph Lam, who set up the GoFundMe page, wrote: ‘As many of you know I paused the donations as well as the comments.
‘As I sit back and read these comments and watched the video again I feel I have to make this update. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE MOM!!
‘However, passing judgment on her before you know her is a form of bullying. Condemnation before evaluation is the ultimate form of ignorance.
‘I can’t even say for sure that any of what’s being said is true. I don’t know the family personally and never claimed to have known them. This is about a kid who’s been bullied and not just one kid, Keaton, there are many unspoken cases about kids being bullied.’
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In the video, Keaton sits in a car and describes what it’s like to be bullied, saying he has had milk poured over his head and ham stuffed in his clothes by children at his school.
‘They make fun of my nose,’ he said. ‘They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.
‘Why do they bully? What’s the point of it?
‘Why are they taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not ok.
‘People are different, it’s not their fault. If you are made fun of, just don’t let it bother you.
‘Stay strong, I guess. It’s hard but it’ll probably get better one day.’
The initial online reaction to the video was an outpouring of goodwill, including from celebrities such as singers Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.
Actors Mark Ruffalo and Chris Evans, who play the Hulk and Captain America, both invited Keaton to attend the premiere of next year’s Avengers movie.
That viral video of #KeatonJones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child.
But his mom, Kimberly on the other hand, is a suspected racist who makes very problematic posts bullying Black protesters #TheIrony pic.twitter.com/NUhidunP8z
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 11, 2017
Media personality Tariq Nasheed tweeted photos he said were from Ms Jones’ Facebook page, which appeared to show her and her children posing with a confederate flag.
Her Facebook post read: ‘Dear butt hurt Americans, If you aren’t bleeding, no bones are sticking out & you can breathe, STOP crying! For the love, some folks clearly never picked a switch.
‘And before y’all start talking to me about metaphorical, emotional, financial or historical blood & brokenness, Don’t. Join a group.’
Mr Nasheed tweeted: ‘That viral video of #KeatonJones talking about being bullied is heartbreaking, and I feel sympathetic towards that child.
‘But his mom, Kimberly on the other hand, is a suspected racist who makes very problematic posts bullying Black protesters.’
Ms Jones’ Facebook account has since been deleted and the GoFundMe page has been put on hold.
But Keaton’s sister Lakyn Jones denied the family were racist after actress Patricia Arquette confronted her about the accusation on Twitter.
Keaton never said those things. He’s not a racist and we don’t condone that behavior
— Lakyn (@Lakyn_Jones) December 11, 2017
She tweeted: ‘Keaton never said those things. He’s not a racist and we don’t condone that behaviour.’
She added: ‘My family will continue to support each other. You all can hate and tweet all you want but our faith can’t be shaken.’
She said none of the GoFundMe pages were set up by the family.