Jake Paul responds to backlash after fans criticize the millionaire for filming looters in Arizona mall
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Jake Paul issued a response after sparking outrage by filming inside an Arizona mall as it was being looted by protesters.
The popular YouTube celebrity posted videos to his Instagram Story over the weekend at a protest against police brutality that, like many across the United States, was sparked by the death of George Floyd. The first videos show him wearing a face mask and protesting police outside. He captioned videos “america is in ruins” and “what can we do” before sharing a photo of his face saying that he was tear-gassed by officers and that his eye was bleeding.
Later videos emerged on Twitter showing Paul and his crew inside the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Ariz., as it was being looted and vandalized. At no point in the videos does Paul or his team appear to be participating in the looting or vandalism, although at one point someone hands him a bottle of vodka that appears to have been stolen. It didn’t take long before people noticed his presence and he received immense backlash on social media.
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[WARNING: The video below contains graphic language.]
Representatives for Paul did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Paul, who was named one of Forbes’ highest-paid YouTube celebrities in 2018, issued a statement on Twitter shortly after receiving backlash for being inside the mall with looters.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
He added: “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.”
Despite the statement, many who saw the videos of Paul were quick to criticize him for filming the looting for more content for his monetized brand rather than doing anything that could help the cause of ending police brutality.
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“Dear @jakepaul 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 @LoganPaul,” one user wrote, mentioning his brother and fellow YouTuber Logan.
“This guy Jake Paul really vlogging himself loooting like wtf is wrong with this guy,” another user wrote.
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“Jake Paul makes me want to vomit,” a more blunt user wrote.