YouTube star Jake Paul was spotted during the looting at Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona last night. However, Paul claims he was there to document, not steal tennis shoes and other items. He posted videos on his Instagram story from earlier in the day, which showed him protesting as police officers threw tear gas toward him. Paul captioned the video with, "America is in ruins" and "what can we do." He later posted a selfie stating, "I'm tear gassed my eyes bleeding." The YouTuber wrote a long explanation of why he was in the middle of the looting.
Jake Paul was later spotted on social media at Fashion Square in Scottsdale as looters destroyed a P.F. Chang's. He posed for pictures with some fans and was seen walking around the ruined mall. While the YouTuber is not seen on camera participating in the looting, he was accused of it by many on social media. He had this to say in response.
"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism. For context, we spent the day doing our part to peaceful 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."
While Jake Paul wasn't a part of the looting, his fans, along with others on social media, called him out for being there in the first place. As Paul walks around, people are bashing in store windows and stealing everything that's not nailed down to the ground. "Jake Paul has a 19 million dollar net worth and a giant platform consisting of mainly kids, and he's out here looting whilst others get teargassed and beat?" one Twitter user wrote, with another piling on, "Jake Paul + his other rich white friends are capitalizing off of this for attention." There is no evidence to suggest Paul was looting, but his name was trending on social media, so people made assumptions.
AT&T, Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, and the Apple Store are some of the other businesses that were destroyed and looted last night at Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona. Damages have yet to be estimated, but it's more than likely going to be in the millions of dollars. Perhaps Jake Paul will donate to the mall in order to get it back up and running. You can check out Jake Paul's Twitter apology below.