"There’s potential for a great, teachable moment here," says ESPN's Jemele Hill.
Keaton Jones became a top Twitter trend over the weekend after a video of him talking about being bullied went viral. The young boy quickly racked up responses on social media from major stars, including Chris Evans, who invited him to the premiere of "Avengers: Infinity War." But on Monday morning, the story took a surprising left turn.
Alleged photos and comments from the boy's mother started making the rounds on social media. In them, she and the family proudly pose with a Confederate flag, a source of intense debate as many view it as a symbol of racism. As a result, Keaton, his family and stars reaching out a friendly hand are all facing backlash.
Keaton's sister Laykn has been tweeting about some of the backlash this morning, writing, "My mother is not in anyway a racist. I can assure you of that. She is just a strong southern woman." She added: "I can assure you that my family is not anyway racist!"
Since the latest developments, the narrative has changed a bit on Twitter -- here's what Hollywood is saying.
Well I'm inviting Keaton to the Golden Globes and making him sit with the cast of Get Out.— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 11, 2017
Keaton didn’t get to choose the family that raised & shaped him, you smug ghoul. How ‘bout showing him that people of all races & creeds can come together? Change things, maybe? Show him a better world? https://t.co/BZqBEboabL— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 11, 2017
I’ve seen her posts and if true, I’d say there’s potential for a great, teachable moment here. My offer for Keaton to visit ESPN stands, because what happened to him was cruel. That said, this is a stark example of selective empathy. https://t.co/XbZ9NpKJe2— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 11, 2017
Learning that Keaton’s family are supportive of the confederate flag is disappointing for me as a person of colour but I still feel that this child, yes CHILD, deserves to be treated with respect & should not be bullied. The beliefs/hypocrisy of his parents is another issue. 1/2 https://t.co/eAS6AxqJ8I— Nathalie Emmanuel (@missnemmanuel) December 11, 2017
Maybe the support for Keaton from everyone including people of colour for his right to be treated with dignity and respect might help them see why the confederate flag and what it symbolises historically is upsetting. https://t.co/eAS6AxqJ8I— Nathalie Emmanuel (@missnemmanuel) December 11, 2017
John Mayer also posted a lengthy thread about the issue and how it reflects society in 2017:
Pay attention to the Keaton/bullying story lifeline as it plays out. In many ways it’s the perfect example of how we’ve come to create completely synthetic experiences in 2017. (Thread)— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) December 11, 2017
We have a real boy in a real place with a really emotionally stirring problem. Video of this is ultimately posted to Twitter. This is the last real event to have occurred. The rest (if you agree that twitter is a thought space) is playing out in our minds.— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) December 11, 2017
Obviously this stems from an incredibly well-intentioned place in all of us. (stay with me...) but this is a window into how we assess/index/respond to situations and ultimately what we walk away from them thinking.— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) December 11, 2017
48 hours into this story and a backlash has begun. We’re introduced to the inevitable grey area of a situation. The unified take begins to splinter under its own weight.— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) December 11, 2017
Pay attention to what you’re thinking about and how you’re thinking about it here. The fingerprint we leave on this situation will be the cleanest one we’ve left all year. How we play this out is who we are.— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) December 11, 2017
My point is an even wider-lens take: will you have felt it was time well spent to focus the beam on this, burn it all like an ant under a magnifying glass and have walked away with nothing but the emotional residue of unmanned, disembodied melodrama?— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) December 11, 2017
Below are the stars who previously supported Keaton, before the latest allegations came to light:
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
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
I #StandwithKeaton. Keaton baby, just know you’re not alone. There are so many people who come out of bullying so much stronger and you will be one of them!! God bless you sweetheart. https://t.co/LdCAy2lDHu— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) December 11, 2017
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 ❤️ https://t.co/LD7Q762bL9— Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebbrown) December 9, 2017
To Keaton and his family... we have a box of gear that myself and Norman @wwwbigbaldhead have put together for you! I’ll send out as soon as we get an address. We are thinking about you brother. Standing by for whatever you need. Sending you all kinds of love and support. Xojd— Jeffrey Dean Morgan (@JDMorgan) December 11, 2017
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 pic.twitter.com/BR8c4ldDFc— Dana White (@danawhite) 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
Who ever goes to this boy school ,If you pick on him you not even a bully YOU A STRAIGHT UP PUSSY ASS PUNK ASS BITCH .Like how you pick on somebody who can’t defend them self ? THATS NOT GANGSTA ! If you a parent or somebody big sis or big bro show your kids this video and show them why they should not bully others !!😡😡😡 👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽
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