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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee woman's video of her tearful son recounting being bullied at middle school has prompted a wave of support from athletes and entertainers.
Kimberly Jones said in a Facebook post Friday she had just picked up her son, Keaton, from school because he was too afraid to go to lunch.
In the video, Keaton said other students call him ugly, make fun of his nose and tell him he has no friends. He said milk was poured on him and ham was put down his clothes.
"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?" Keaton said. "What's the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them? It's not OK.
"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."
The video had more than 18 million views as of Sunday, and a crowdsourcing page for Keaton's future education had raised more than $29,000.
"We all know how it feels to want to belong," Jones said in her post, "but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere."
On Twitter, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker invited the Jones family to an upcoming game, while University of Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd said he and several teammates plan to visit Keaton at school.
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
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@cboystunna3@BroadwayJay2@JKShuttlesworth@smithtrey98— Tyler Byrd (@D1fuzzymuffin17) December 9, 2017
buddy next time I make it home to Knox I'm going to walk into that lunchroom with you and watch the bullies say they are sorry to you. you don't deserve that. keep your head up and continue to be kind...you will always Come out on top. sending a hug. https://t.co/fZn2hbMPKp— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) December 10, 2017
Country music star Kelsea Ballerini tweeted that the next time she comes home to her native Knoxville, she wants to be with Keaton to witness the bullies apologize.
Retired race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Twitter he wants Keaton to "add me to your long list of friends," and Snoop Dogg said on Instagram that Keaton "has a friend for life" and that "love is the only way to beat hate."
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