The man behind the GoFundMe campaign which raised nearly $60,000 for Keaton Jones has revealed he stopped taking donations after Kimberly Jones, Keaton's mother, was accused of racism.
In an exclusive interview with TheWrap, Joseph Lam, a 37-year-old resident of New Jersey, explained that he has never met the Jones family and started the GoFundMe pages because he was touched by the viral video.
“I would like to do a college fund for the kid, it’s not the kid’s fault,” he told TheWrap.
However, after the discussion surrounding Keaton's mother centered around racism, Lam wanted to make sure he kept Keaton's best interests in mind.
He said he had heard from “a lot of people with concerns” about Kimberly, but Lam said “I’m more concerned with the kid.”
When it comes to the allegations of racism against Kimberly Jones and the photos posted to her account which show her with a Confederate flag, Lam said that has nothing to do with Keaton.
In an update to his original GoFundMe page, Lam wrote:
"As many of you know I paused the donations as well as the comments. As I sit back and read these comments and watched the video again I feel I have to make this update. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE MOM!! However passing judgement on her before you know her is a form of bullying. Condemnation before evaluation is the ultimate form of ignorance. I can't even say for sure that any of whats being said is true. I don't know the family personally and never claimed to have known them. This is about a kid who's been bullied and not just one kid, Keaton, there are many unspoken cases about kids being bullied. We have to be the voice for the voiceless. In the video I saw a kid crying not just for himself but for others. To me thats a kid with a heart of gold and deserves praise. Im hoping that we can turn the money into something good whether it be for private school or college fund. Im in touch with GFM on how to proceed at this point. Thank you every one that donated."
Lam has been in touch with GoFundMe administrators about how to proceed with his campaign.
Fundraising efforts in honor of Tennessee middle school student, Keaton Jones have been brought to a halt by GoFundMe.
According to TMZ.com, GoFundMe suspended one page accepting donations on behalf of Jones and put a hold on another that has garnered nearly $60,000 two days after it was created.
The crowdfunding site confirmed it’s decision to put a hold on “Stand Up For Keaton,” until they contacted Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones, to ensure that she’s the beneficiary of the funds. The man who originally created the page, that brought in a whopping $58,249 in anti-bullying donations, doesn’t know her personally.
TMZ.com claims the second GoFundMe page was reportedly created by Jones’ mother in an attempt to garner money for her son’s Christmas gifts. GoFundMe reportedly “shut down” the account due to “fraud concerns.”
That’s not the only drama surrounding Keaton Jones’ anti-bullying campaign. New photos of his mother posing with a Confederate flag and comments taunting “butt hurt Americans” sparked a slew of concern online.