YouTube personality Jake Paul is receiving tons of backlash after video footage of him among a group of people in an Arizona mall while it was being looted after a protest surfaced. Even so, Paul claims that he was not looting or vandalizing.
Paul sent out a statement on his social media platforms in an attempt to explain himself. “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” he said. “For context, we spent the day doing our part to peacefully protest one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen, which led to us being tear-gassed for filming the events and brutality that were unfolding in Arizona.”
He went on to say that he and his group were gassed and they were “strictly documenting” every neighborhood they traveled through. He added, “I do not condone violence, looting, or breaking the law.”
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In a video posted on Instagram stories by Andrew Blue, who according to Instagram is Paul’s videographer and photographer, there is extensive footage of looting and vandalism. Blue and Paul seem to be present and at one point you can hear someone say “Oh shit! It’s getting crazy!” During footage inside a mall, we can see people destroying a car and looting a Sephora. One person says, “Yo get me a free cologne!” Again, Paul and Blue insist that they were not part of their group.
Blue said on Instagram that it is his “job to document virtually everything” and that they were strictly documenting the situation. He goes on to say that the were not looting or vandalizing but it was “tragic” to see it happening.
Jake Paul, along with his brother Logan, have been criticized numerous times for their use of their platforms which reach millions. In 2018, Logan Paul came under fire when he visited the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The site is known for suicides and he went into the forest and filmed a man’s dead body and made jokes while doing so and posted on YouTube, but it was taken down after a barrage of comments called him out for being disrespectful and disgusting.