Keaton Jones, the 11-year-old Tennessee boy who became a social media sensation for a video in which he tearfully asked why he had to face bullying at school, is the son of an imprisoned, apparent white nationalist.
The boy’s estranged father, Shawn White, spread white nationalist propaganda on his social media pages up until 2015. He stopped posting a host of memes and selfies because he’s been in jail in Tennessee, TMZ reported.
One selfie showed White shirtless and bearing tattoos that read “PURE BREED” on his chest and “WHITE PRIDE” on his stomach. On his neck he has a “CWB” tattoo, an acronym used by a gang known as Crazy White Boy.
In multiple photos, White and friends hold up a hand sign connected the Aryan Circle, one of the largest white nationalist gangs in U.S. prisons, reported the Daily Mail.
White has been in the Knox County Jail since May 2015, according to TMZ. He’s there on a probation violation related to a 2012 aggravated assault conviction. He is scheduled to get out in 2018.
The last time White posted a picture that included his son, as well as Keaton’s sister, was in January 2015. To what extent White had a relationship with his son before he was locked up remains unknown.
The revelation of White being a white nationalist comes after Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones, downplayed pictures of her and her kids with Confederate flag. She called those pictures “ironic and funny and extreme” during an interview on “Good Morning America.”
Jones also addressed those who have accused her of using her son’s bullying struggles as a cash grab, pointing to the multiple GoFundMe accounts that have been launched in the past few days for Keaton. Jones said all but one of those pages are fakes.
The official GoFundMe has since been frozen, with $58,000 in donations already received by the account, according to the Mail.
As Keaton’s sympathetic video took the internet by storm, a number of celebrities, from Chris Evans to LeBron James to Justin Bieber to Selena Gomez, recorded videos or posted uplifting messages for the him over the weekend.
Evans even invited him to the premiere of the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War.”
“All this attention really just feels amazing,” said Keaton. “[I’m] speechless, honestly. I did not ever imagine for any of this to happen.”
Keaton’s school is also addressing the issue of bullying.
“To fulfill our mission of educating all children in Union County Public Schools, we must provide an academic environment that is safe, civil and supportive,” read a statement from Union County Public Schools director James Carter.
“We do not and will not tolerate bullying and have a policy in place that addresses conduct taking place on school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation or at any official school bus stop.”