In the wake of the death of George Floyd, mass protests have erupted in many American cities. Some of these have turned to violence, vandalism, and looting, prompting the likes of Killer Mike to plead for safety. Scottsdale, Arizona is one of those cities. On Saturday night, a number of protesters there broke into a mall and started taking things. Video soon surfaced that showed among those there to be controversial YouTube star Jake Paul, prompting many to assume he was one of the looters. On Sunday Paul released a statement emphatically saying he was not.
As caught by Deadline, Paul posted a lengthy statement on Twitter to set things straight. “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” Paul wrote. “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.”
Paul also claimed he and his team were “strictly documenting” the melee, and that he does “not condone violence, looting, or breaking the law.”
The footage was actually taken and posted by Andrew Blue, Paul’s videographer and photographer, and it shows the destruction of a car and the looting of a Sephora. Neither Paul nor Blue are shown participating, and Paul claims they were not associated with people doing the looting.
Paul has repeatedly come under fire for videos he’s made that have been accused of crossing ethical lines. In 2018 he was widely condemned for posting a video of a suicide victim at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.