Saturday night saw cities across America descend into protest once again, with some on the ground using the demonstrations as an excuse to loot. Video from Scottsdale, Arizona captured looters at the mall in the area and some thought they recognized a familiar face in the melee.
YouTube star Jake Paul appears in a pair of videos shared by New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz, walking around the Scottsdale mall amid the protests with his group of friends. While Paul and his group are not seen looting or taking part in the violence, many online criticized the YouTube star for even appearing to be a looter.
More video of Jake Paul’s escapades last night pic.twitter.com/KyrE87TvA9— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) May 31, 2020
The video itself comes from Paul's videographer Andrew Blue according to Buzzfeed, and it does show Paul near a P.F. Chang's by the mall before entering the mall in a later clip as others can be seen vandalizing the shopping center. Paul also posted his own snaps in his Instagram Story, capturing police mobilizing outside of the mall while later claiming he was tear-gassed, leaving his eyes bleeding.
"Black people are protesting the fact that cops murder them for no reason meanwhile Jake Paul is out there having fun fulfilling every white asshole male's Joker fantasy I'm surprised he hasn't been filmed dancing down a flight of stairs," one critic wrote.
Our hearts are broken for our community.
At this time Scottsdale Fashion Square is closed. We’ll get through this together and we look forward to seeing you soon. pic.twitter.com/jthIofUwu7— Scottsdale Fashion Square (@ScottsdaleFS) May 31, 2020
"Welcome to Another Episode of: How Does Jake Paul Always Manage to be Wrong?" a second added. It is only the latest criticism against Paul and his brother Logan Paul as they've grown in popularity on YouTube and social media.
Blue was the first to address the backlash on his Instagram account. He posted a note "for clarity" saying that his job as a videographer is to document "virtually everything." Blue continued, claiming he wanted to use the platform to raise awareness and clarifying that nobody in Paul's crew were looting or vandalizing. Paul later released a statement himself, echoing Blue's comments and denouncing the violence.
"I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law; 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," Paul wrote. Despite these claims, many are still angry at the YouTube celebrity.