Jake Paul says he was not involved in looting or other vandalism after he was filmed in the crowd of an Arizona mall on Saturday night. The 23-year-old YouTube star shared a lengthy post on Twitter and Instagram as he explained his decision to document the riots that were sparked in protest of the horrific death of George Floyd.
In the post to his social media pages, Jake confirmed that he took part in peaceful protests on Saturday, but added that he and his group were “tear-gassed” for filming the violent events later that night.
On his Instagram story, Jake posted a video of him protesting outside the mall and coming face to face with police officers, per Variety. The “It’s Everyday Bro” singer captioned the video “America is in ruins” and “what can we do,” then later shared a photo of his face after he was allegedly hit with tear gas.
The YouTube star told his combined 16 million followers on Twitter and Instagram that he filmed everything that was going in around him in an effort to “draw attention” to the anger felt in the aftermath of Floyd’s death that was caused by police brutality and to “share” with his followers the experience of being among the protesters.
Jake wrote that he was “strictly documenting” the events and “not engaging” in the violence. The social media star added that he does not condone violence or breaking the law, but that he “understands” the emotions behind the protests.
Jake urged his followers to join together to raise awareness.
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) May 31, 2020
In response to his Twitter post, some commenters blasted the YouTuber for trying to use the horrific situation for content for his YouTube channel.
“There’s no other way to put it, you are trying to profit off of a black man losing his life,” one commenter wrote. “You want to capture something shocking for views, that’s all it is.”
“The blm movement is NOT an opportunity for you to film a YouTube video and post it for revenue,” another added.
Other commenters recalled Jake’s brother, Logan Paul, and the backlash he received for posting a shocking video of a suicide victim in 2018.
But others supported Jake and thanked him for spreading awareness.
“Those people out here just trying to spread hate towards you just cuz you’re ‘Jake Paul’ and everyone likes to jump on a bandwagon instead of seeing the real truth,” one fan wrote
On Saturday night, Jake was on camera at Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to TMZ. In a video posted to the site, Jake was not seen stealing anything as he documented the looting and violence that was going on around him. Jake was filmed watching damage being to the exterior of a P.F. Chang’s restaurant and at one point posed for a photo with a fan who recognized him.