Video footage of YouTuber Jake Paul and friends has emerged in the wake of looting allegations. Video footage that allegedly shows Paul engaging with an active looting situation at a Scottsdale, Arizona, mall on Saturday night has gone viral on social media.
In footage originally posted to Instagram and Twitter by Andrew Blue, Paul is apparently seen with a bottle of liquor and commenting on the looting. In spite of the release of video footage, Paul denies allegations that he participated in illegal activities like looting or damaging property.
More than 11 million people have viewed the videos featuring Paul, but Blue has deleted them from Instagram. Now, video on Twitter posted by others shows Paul and friends shouting. One person who is part of the group says, “give me a free cologne.”
Of course, there are also other videos posted from the incidents that occurred at the shopping center over the weekend. Some were posted to Paul’s own social media accounts. In one video, he reportedly curses at cops and calls them “idiots.”
Blue and Paul have both claimed that they were not involved in looting or vandalizing the property.
Blue’s statements claimed that they were just there “documenting the situation” and using their platform to “raise awareness.” They also referred to the “horrific event and the overall injustice.” Blue also claimed that he understood the frustration of others but did not condone or support behavior like theft or vandalism.
Paul also released a statement that began, “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism.”
Paul also said in his statement that he had been “peacefully” protesting earlier in the day. He also claims that his group had been “tear-gassed for filming the events and brutality that were unfolding.” He says that he was merely “documenting, not engaging.” Like Blue, he reported that he understands the anger and frustration of others but does not condone destruction.
Still, many fellow Twitter users said that Paul was taking advantage of the situation and using the events as a way to make money. Some encouraged him to donate money to local organizations.
— Paul Paul (@jakepaul) May 31, 2020
Another individual pointed out that Paul was featured on camera holding a bottle of liquor allegedly stolen from a P. F. Chang’s restaurant.
The next day, the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall was closed. Many shopping centers throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area have been closed for the remainder of the weekend, and the entire state of Arizona has implemented a week-long curfew of 8 p.m.
Protests are ongoing after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Last week, a Phoenix trooper shot and killed Dion Johnson on a highway.