On Saturday night, as part of the ongoing protests and riots taking place across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona was broken into and looted.
This much is not up for debate.
What is up for debate, though?
Whether or not popular and polarizing YouTube personality Jake Paul was one of the criminals.
In a series of since-deleted Instagram story videos posted by Andrew Blue — Jake’s videographer — Paul is clearly shown near a P.F. Chang’s… and then walking through the mall as others start to vandalize it.
Throughout these videos, folks can be seen running, entering stores and kicking down doors.
On his own Instagram story, Paul shared videos of what appears to be the police presence — calling them a "bunch of f-cking idiots."
Again, there’s no doubt that Paul was on hand for this chaotic incident.
"I walked right up to them, these f-cking idiots tear gassed me — I ain’t doing shit bro," he continued, along with a picture of his eye.
While Paul was posting these messages, other social media users were trashing the star for reasons summed up very well by this individual:
"Black people are protesting the fact that cops muder them for no reason.
"Meanwhile Jake Paul is out there having fun fulfilling every white asshole male’s Joker fantasy I’m surprised he hasn’t been filmed dancing down a flight of stairs."
Added another critic:
"jake paul + his other rich white friends are capitalizing off of this for attention + notoriety while doing nothing to support the actual movement."
Floyd died this month in Minnesota after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The officer has since been arrested on third-degree murder charges, but video of the fatal encounter leaked online and has led to civil unrest between citizens and cops in almost every major city across the nation.
Most of these cities have since imposed a curfew in their dowtown areas in order to avoid further violence for the time being.
Did Paul actually steal anything from the mall, however?
This seems to be the question Paul is focused on, which is why he posted a response to the topic on Instagram today.
"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," Paul said online.
"We were gassed and forced to keep moving on foot," he continued.
"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."
Concluded the YouTube personality, who is reportedly worth $11.5 million:
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.
We’re just sayin:
Even if Jake didn’t loot in this case, idiocy runs in his family.