Here’s what’s new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:
Keaton Jones, a Tennessee boy whose tearful reaction to bullying was captured on video by his mom, is getting waves of celebrity support after the clips went viral under the hashtag @StandWithKeaton.
“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?” the Knoxville middle-school student asks his mother, who reportedly was picking him up from school early because he was too afraid to go to lunch. “Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not OK.”
His sister Laykn Keaton helped spread the video Friday, tweeting, “Y’all take a minute to watch this video and let it teach you something.”
(Though she included a link to a Facebook video posted by her mom, Kimberly Keaton, it appears it has been taken down or at least made private to some degree. More than a minute of the video can, however, be seen all over the place on social media and elsewhere online.)
“They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,” says Keaton, who according to WTVF in Tennessee was born with a tumor. Bullies “poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes, threw bread at me,” he said, describing their lunchtime behavior.
Still, he says through tears, “I don’t like that they do it to me and I for sure don’t like that they do it to other people.” That awareness earned him props from Justin Bieber.
“The fact that he still has the sympathy and compassion for other people when he’s going through it himself is a testament to who he is,” Bieber said in an Instagram video. “This kid is all-time, he’s a legend, go check him out.” In another short video, the “Sorry” singer said “we’re all rooting for you … love ya buddy.”
Snoop Dogg wrote, “Say lil Man U gotta friend in me for life hit me on dm so we can chop it up love is the only way to beat hate.”
“People who are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault,” Keaton said, earning a reply from “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, who wrote, “Different is special. You’re beautiful Keaton. Inside and out.”
Pro athletes from Tennessee teams chimed in, including Chandler Parsons of the Memphis Grizzlies and Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans, the latter of whom read Keaton a poem by Buddha in a video inviting the boy and his family to a Dec. 31 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He also was invited to a couple of premieres, courtesy of Hailee Steinfeld, who asked him to be her date Tuesday for “Pitch Perfect 3”, and Chris Evans, who asked him and his mom to attend the “Avengers: Infinity War” debut next May.
The comments from high-profile folks came in droves. A few examples:
“Keaton owns my heart,” said comic and “Two Broke Girls” co-creator Whitney Cummings.
Millie Bobby Brown retweeted a post from “Suits” actor Patrick J. Adams, who said he was “bullied constantly” while growing up. The 13-year old “Stranger Things” actress added, “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.”
“’Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.’ Stay strong Keaton, you’re a very brave young man and a lot of great folks have your back. @Lakyn_Jones if there is anything we can do for Keaton, please let us know. #StandWithKeaton #StopBullying,” the band Nickelback tweeted.
“Anytime we’re in Knox, Keaton and yall are always welcome at the show. What an amazing and strong young man!” country singer Scotty McCreery said.
“We here on ‘The Flash’ are on your side — and against bullies everywhere,” said “Flash” actor Tom Cavanaugh.
“This whole #StandWithKeaton movement is so beyond heartwarming! Can’t wait to see him and his mom with all the super heros,” actress Juliette Lewis tweeted.
“Keaton, the bullies won’t win. You are strong, you are loved and you have a lot of support and friends who are standing with you and your family,” Jon Bon Jovi said. “I’m with you. #StandWithKeaton.”
It didn’t stop with athletes and entertainers.
“No child should ever fear going to school or participating in events because of a bully. This behavior is simply unacceptable. Kentucky stands with Keaton and all those who have been bullied.” That came from Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
Perhaps Keaton, through tears, said it best. “If you are made fun of, just don’t let it bother you. They suck, I guess. Hard. But,” he says, pausing briefly, “it’ll probably get better one day.”
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