Popular YouTuber Jake Paul has responded after many have bashed him for vlogging inside of Fashion Square Mall in Arizona as it was being looted by protesters.
Over the weekend, Paul posted videos to his Instagram Story while at a police brutality protest, just one of hundreds across the country, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. In his first videos, Paul is seen wearing a face mask and protesting police outside, captioning the videos “America is in ruins” and “what can we do.” He followed up with a photo of his face claiming to have been tear-gassed by officers. Elsewhere on Twitter, additional footage began to surface of Paul and friends inside of the Scottsdale, Arizona mall as it was being looted and vandalized.
Once users identified him, the immediate backlash ensued, as many accused the YouTuber, who was named one of Forbes’ highest-paid YouTube celebrities in 2018, of attempting to profit from the footage he recorded.” Dear Jake Paul,” one use wrote.” Seeing my local mall being vandalized, looted, and set on fire last night was scary. I woke up to see pics of you in there recording. Doing that, you made you as opportunistic as the looters themselves! Not everything is content, be better, learn from Logan Paul.”
But, Paul took to Twitter to defend himself and his team, claiming that they had only participated in peaceful protesting and only filmed the looters in an effort to bring about awareness.
“To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism. 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. We were gassed and forced to keep moving on foot. We filmed everything we saw in an effort to share our experience and bring more attention to the anger felt in every neighborhood we traveled through; we were strictly documenting, not engaging. I do not condone violence, looting, or breaking the law.”⠀⠀
Paul went on to add, “However, I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed, and while it’s not the answer, it’s important that people see it and collectively figure out how to move forward in a healthy way. We are all doing the best we can to be helpful and raise awareness; this is not the time to attack each other; it’s time to join together and evolve.”