*The mother of bullied Tennessee boy Keaton Jones did the morning show rounds on Tuesday to defend her social media posts with the Confederate flag, saying she and her family are not racists and the photos were intended to be “extreme” and “ironic and funny.”
“The only two photos — the only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag. It was ironic,” Kimberly told CBS News of the pics, adding that there was no racist intent behind the shots. “I’ve said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist.”
She gave a similar answer to ABC News, saying that those close to her know she is not racist.
“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,” she said. She added: “It was meant to be ironic and funny … I am genuinely truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would.”
Keaton, a Knoxville middle-schooler, melted the Internet after a video uploaded by his mother showed the boy in tears over the bullying he’s endured at school. Keaton told CBS News that recording the footage was all his idea.
“I had enough of it. They had said that someone was going to beat me up in lunch so I texted my mom and I said, ‘What do I do here?’ ” Keaton, 11, told CBS News. In the video, Keaton revealed that the bullies, “make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”
However, as celebrities and social media users rallied behind Keaton, many criticized Kimberly for past Facebook posts that appeared to show the family posing with Confederate flags.
Those posts have also hampered online fundraising efforts for Keaton. One GoFundMe account, which raised $58,000, is now on hold amid allegations that she used her son’s story for financial gain. Kimberly disputed those claims, telling ABC that she approved one GoFundMe campaign to benefit Keaton and calling the others fakes.
The person who started the page stresses he has nothing to do with Kimberly and only wants to help Keaton.
Keaton told CBS that he’s been regularly bullied by five of his classmates at Horace Maynard Middle School, and was too afraid of them to tell a teacher. “He became more and more agitated and didn’t want to go back to school,” Kimberly told the site.
As a result of the video, Horace Maynard officials vowed to hold an anti-bullying assembly, according to CBS. And Keaton said he is glad he spoke out in the video.
“I made the video to raise awareness for bullying, not for fame or fortune, it was not at all for that. It was to raise awareness to bullying,” he told ABC. “[It’s] a serious thing that goes on in our society. People criticize other people for the way they look and act; it’s not their fault.”
Watch the ABC News interview above and the CBS News interview below: