AceShowbiz - Jake Paul is setting the record straight on the accusations he took a part in the looting and vandalizing of a Scottsdale, Arizona mall. Shortly after video footage of him inside the Fashion Square Mall as the looting took place made its way online, the YouTube star issued a rebuttal statement through his social media accounts.
"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism," the 23-year-old stated on Sunday, May 31. "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."
In the post he released via Instagram Story and Twitter, the younger brother of Logan Paul continued to share his side of the story. "We were gassed and forced to keep moving on foot," he wrote. "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 strictly documenting, not engaging."
Jake went on to stress that he does 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."
The ex of Tana Mongeau concluded his post by calling for unity in the wake of George Floyd's death in the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis. "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," he pointed out.
Jake and his friends participated in the peaceful protests, which have erupted across the country, on Saturday, May 31. He documented his experience on Instagram Story, sharing at one point that his eyes were "bleeding" after being tear-gassed. Later the same day, however, footage of him walking around the Fashion Square mall while looting took place went viral.
While Jake was not seen causing any damage to the property, many found him at fault for being around. His friend/videographer Andrew Blue has since responded to the controversial video, defending the YouTuber. "Just for clarity, I am a videographer and my job is to document virtually everything," he wrote on Instagram Story.
"We were strictly documenting the situation and doing our part to use our platform to raise awareness about the horrific event and overall injustice," he continued. "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."