A feel-good story about a bullied kid drawing support from all over has turned into a mess. The mother of Keaton Jones is now trying to fend off a backlash that ensued after social media images emerged showing her and the family posing with a Confederate flag. "It was meant to be ironic and funny and extreme," Kimberly Jones told Good Morning America, reports E! Online. "I am genuinely truly sorry. If I could take it back I would." The Tennessee woman is also pushing back against allegations that the flag photos demonstrate that she's racist. “The only two photos—the only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag," she says, per People. "I've said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist.”
The damage may be done, however. For example, a GoFundMe account set up for son Keaton had raised $57,000 before being abruptly suspended amid the controversy, reports TMZ. Its creator has said he has no connection to the family and just wanted to help Keaton. The outpouring of support for the boy emerged after a video of him talking tearfully about the abuse he endures at school went viral. "I mean that, you know, yesterday he was a hero," Kimberly Jones tells the Today show. "You know, the world loved us. Today, the world hates us." Jones has since made her social media pages private.