YouTube star Jake Paul faced criticism over social media for his documentation of looting taking place at a mall in Arizona. 

Paul’s videographer and photographer Andrew Blue posted videos on Twitter and Instagram of Paul during the Fashion Square looting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Paul is not seen participating in the looting, but others around him are shown kicking in glass windows and breaking other things around the mall. 

During the melee, Paul posted videos of what was happening on his own Instagram story. He explained an encounter he had with police officers. He said, “these f—ing idiots teargassed me. I ain’t doing s–t, bro. Look at them pointing guns at me.” Over his video, Paul put the text, “America is in ruins.” 

Many were not pleased with the posts made by Paul and Blue and accused Paul of participating in the looting. One critic wrote on Twitter, “Jake Paul, a millionaire, is looting a mall so that he could post a YouTube video about it and add more to his wealth. You can’t make this s–t up.” 

In response, Blue went on his Instagram story commenting, “Just for clarity, I am a videographer and my job is to document virtually everything. We were strictly documenting the situation and doing our part to use our platform to raise awareness about the horrific event and overall injustice. Nobody with us was looting or vandalizing, bit it certainly was tragic to see and while we understand the frustration, we don’t condone or support any behavior like that.”

Paul tweeted his response. “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” he 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. 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; 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.”

Paul has been using social media to voice his support for those who lost their lives in result of police brutality and has been calling attention to the social movement currently taking place. On May 28, Paul linked the Justice for George Floyd petition on his Twitter and said, “don’t scroll past this without taking action… together we can make a difference..”

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