- Celebrities have come in an outpouring of support for Tennessee boy Keaton Jones after he shared experience as a victim of bullying in heartbreaking video
- He told his mother that bullies poured milk on him in the cafeteria at school
- His emotional plea for bullies to leave him alone has gotten the attention of celebrities including LeBron James, Dr Phil, Chris Evans, Justin Bieber
- Keaton's tear-jerking video has garnered more than 16m viewers on Facebook, before his mother shut down the page
- Internet sleuths revealed that Kimberly Jones in the past shared photos posing with Confederate flag and writing questionable posts
- Someone also has set up a PayPal account in Jones' name soliciting donations, but her daughter on Monday denied it was her mother
Published: 13:24 EST, 11 December 2017 | Updated: 17:45 EST, 11 December 2017
The mother of Keaton Jones, the Tennessee boy whose heart-breaking anti-bullying message went viral over the weekend, is facing tough questions after Internet sleuths have stumbled upon her Facebook page featuring photos of the Confederate flag along with some questionable messages.
Dozens of actors, singers and athletes, among them Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Mark Ruffalo, Donald Trump Jr and LeBron James, to name just a few, have come out in support of the Knoxville middle-schooler after his mother shared a video online showing her son in tears, pleading to be left alone by bullies.
In the tear-jerking clip, Keaton recounts how his tormentors at school have been mocking his appearance, calling him ugly and have even poured milk on him.
Ugly truth: The photo seen above showing the Confederate flag was taken from Kimberly Jones' now-defunct Facebook page. Her son Keaton became a viral sensation over the weekend after speaking out about being bullied
Kimberly Jones is seen posing with a massive Confederate flag
Jones also posted this Snapchat image apparently commenting on the controversy surrounding NFL players who chose to kneel during the national anthem
Not mincing words: In August, Jones posted this scathing critique on her Facebook page
Activist Tareeq Nasheed outed Mrs Jones as what he called a 'suspected racist' on Twitter early Monday morning
But as it often happens with viral sensations, there was more to the story than first met the eye.
Early Monday morning, African-American activist Tariq Nasheed tweeted a screenshot of Kimberly Jones' now-defunct Facebook page, showing photos of family members waving the Confederate flag.
He also shared a status update from late August, in which Mrs Jones wrote: '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.'
Nasheed characterized the mother from Tennessee as a 'suspected racist’ who has made ‘very problematic posts bullying Black protesters.'
DailyMail.com has been unable to corroborate the claim regarding posts bullying protesters because Jones has shut down her Facebook account as of Monday morning.
Instead, someone identifying themselves as Keaton's mom Kimberly Jones has launched a PayPal account, soliciting donations from well-wishers.
Also on Monday, MMA fighter Joe Schilling took to his Instagram page and posted an exchange he had with the user @kimberlyjones_38, in which she called what happened to the middle-school 'an opportunity' for her son and noted that she is poor, ‘not rich.'
Lakyn Jones, Kimberly's older daughter, shared this photo featuring the Confederate flag and her bother Keaton on July 4, 2015. The same photo appeared on her mother's Facebook
When Schilling responded by accusing the woman of using her son's pain 'as a platform' and declaring that he was no longer interested in getting involved, the user replied: 'What happened to use whites sticking together and helping one of [sic] another against the predator?'
A woman who claimed to be Keaton Jones' older sister, Lakyn Jones, insisted in a series of tweets responding to her family's critics that her mother was not the one asking for money.
Ms Jones further claimed that her mother's actual Instagram page was private, not public, like the @kimberlyjones_38.
'We aren't looking for money and haven't created any gofundmes [sic],' she said in a message to one user.
A GoFundMe page that had been set up for Keaton with nearly $60,000 has been shut down and is no longer acceptinf donations.
GoFundMe says it needs to contact Kimberly Jones, to ensure she's the beneficiary because the man who started the page doesn't know her. So far, the company has been unsuccessful in reaching her.
In an earlier message, which has been deleted, Lakyn wrote: 'My mother is not in anyway a racist. I can assure you of that. She is just a strong southern woman.'
'Whites sticking together': MMA fighter Joe Schilling shared this exchange with a social media user believed to be Kimberly Jones
Cashing in: Jones has launched a PayPal account in the wake of her son's video going viral
A heartbreaking video of Keaton Jones (pictured) pleading to be left alone by bullies goes viral as celebrities offer him their support
Keaton (center with his sisters), of Tennessee, asked his mother, Kimberly Jones (left), a question that so many people would like the answer too: 'Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?'
In the video recording, which Jones posted at her son's requested, as she claimed, Keaton tells his mother: 'Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What's the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them. It's not okay.'
His mother then asked: 'What did they say to you?'
'They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,' Keaton answered as tears poured from his eyes.
'What did they do to you at lunch?' his mom asked.
Keaton replied: 'Poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes. Threw bread at me.'
In the video, Keaton said it's not just him, but others are bullied by kids at school.
'I don't like that they do it to me and I for sure don't like that they do it to other people because it's not okay,' he told his mother.
'People that are different, don't need to be criticized about it. 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,' Keaton concluded.
His tearjerking video captured the hearts of more than 16 million viewers on Facebook after it was posted by his mother.
'For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch,' his mother Kimberly wrote.
Kendall Jenner was among the dozens of celebrities who have voiced their support for Keaton Jones in Twitter
LeBron James, Chris Evans and Justin tweeted in support of the boy
Several celebrities including Chris Evans, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Cardi B, Hailee Steinfeld and Mark Ruffalo all expressed their well wishes and pledged to stand with Keaton. Evans, Ruffalo and Steinfeld all invited him to move premieres
Celebrities quickly came out the support the young boy, all offering their support and kind gestures.
LeBron James, Chris Evans, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Hailee Steinfeld and Mark Ruffalo all expressed their well wishes and pledged to stand with Keaton.
Both Evans And Ruffaloo offered Keaton and his mother to be guests the Avengers: Infinity War premiere in Los Angeles next year.
And Steinfeld asked Keaton to be her date to the Pitch Perfect 3 premiere on Tuesday.
Justin Bieber reached out to Keaton on Instagram: 'You got a friend in me Lil bro! Hit me on dm and we can chat!!! Love you buddy!!'
'What did they do to you at lunch?' his mom asked. Keaton replied: 'Poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes. Threw bread at me'
In the video, Keaton said it's not just him, but others are bullied by kids at school. 'I don't like that they do it to me and I for sure don't like that they do it to other people because it's not okay,' he told his mother. Keaton is pictured with his mom and two sisters
His tear-jerking video captured the hearts of more than 16 million viewers on Facebook after it was posted by his mother. Keaton is pictured with his sisters
Keaton's mother (right) also pleaded with parents to 'talk to your kids' in an effort to shed light on how damaging bullying can be
After the video went viral, even more celebrities sent kind wishes and messages of support to Keaton.
Mark Hamill encouraged Keaton to not be discouraged by bullies but that they were just jealous because 'you're so smart and handsome'.
Country music star Kelsea Ballerini promised Keaton to visit him in the lunchroom when she visits her hometown of Knoxville.
Fox News host Sean Hannity took things a step further and asked if anybody could help put him in contact with Keaton or his parents.
'I will gladly fly them to NYC to be my guests & visit Fox News,' he wrote.
Several celebrities sent good thoughts to Keaton, with some like Sean Hannity inviting him and his parents to New York City to visit Fox News
'My kids are by no stretch perfect, & at home, he's as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he's good at school. Talk to your kids. I've even had friends of mine tell me their kids were only nice to him to get him to mess with people.
'We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere,' she wrote.
Dr. Phil was moved to tweet out his encouragement and support to Keaton, offering to walk the halls of his school with him and to sit down and eat lunch.
He reminded Keaton to remember that bullies are cowards.
Donald Trump Jr. also weighed in to offer his support after UFC chief Dana White told Keaton that he would be welcome to visit the organizations headquarters in Las Vegas.
Trump Jr. offered Keaton and his family a place to stay if they accepted White's offer.
The video has garnered more than 330,000 shares on Facebook, even reaching the eyes and ears of several celebrities who have tweeted their support for young Keaton, including Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown.
'Keaton, this is so accurate. Why do people do this? I think your sooo cool Keaton! I wanna be your friend ( but srsly) ur freakin awesome [sic]' Brown tweeted.
Brown then tweeted at Keaton's sister, Lakyn Jones. 'Tell him to stay strong! Truly a great person… to all the bully's: take not from Keaton.'
Words of support: Dr. Phil strong encouragement to Keaton and told his sister that not only does he stand with Keaton but he wants to sit down and eat lunch with him at school
UFC President Dana White tweeted about Keaton's emotional video early Sunday morning.
'Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone,' White wrote.
Tennessee Titans football star Delanie Walker offered Keaton tickets to an upcoming game, and even recorded a video of himself reading a poem just for Keaton.
Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd said he’s going to go eat lunch with Keaton at school this coming week.
'We going to the middle school next Tuesday show young Man some love we will also TWITTER LIVE some of it so everyone can show there love and support #vols #StopBullying,' Byrd tweeted.
Actor Will Poulter, executive producer of The Vampire Diaries & The Originals, Julie Plec, Chris Brown, Cardi B, actress and activist Patricia Arquette, actor Patrick J Adams and actress Jaimie Alexander, all expressed their support Keaton.
Keaton is an inspiration to the more than 3.2 million students who fall victim to bullying each year.
His story echoes that of the 17 per cent of American students who report being bullied two to three times a month or more within a school semester.
Now that Keaton has your attention, stand up against bullying by visiting StopBullying.gov to learn more about what you can do.
The post Mum of bullied Tennessee boy in video shared racist photos appeared first on News Wire Now.
Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative
In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.
The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.
But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.
So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?
Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.
Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.
The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.
Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.
Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.
Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.
Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.
It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.
“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”
But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.
Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.
But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.
It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.
Critics push for investigation
Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.
But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.
And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.
Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.
Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.
“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.
“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”
The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.
Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.
And she says the same transparency is needed here.
The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them
The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.
“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.
“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”
PM defends governor-general
Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.
“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”
Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.
“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.
“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”
A role fit for purpose?
Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.
She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.
“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”
Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.
“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.
“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”
But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.
“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”
Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania
A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.
Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.
The other driver involved was not hurt.
Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.
The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.
“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.
“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”
Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.
Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.
Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.
Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.
In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.
Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.
Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos
Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.
Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.
While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.
“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.
A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.
Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.
“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.
He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.
“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”
The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.
“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.
Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.
On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.
Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.
But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.
Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.
“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”
The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.
The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.
“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.
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