The Real Reason Jake Paul Was With Looters Inside Arizona Mall

Protests have erupted all over the United States (and the world) following the death of George Floyd – a man killed when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25, 2020. Floyd was detained by police after allegedly trying to use a fake $20 bill at a deli, The New York Times reported. An employee at the grocery store called 911 about the bill. Chauvin and three other officers involved at the scene were fired from the force, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Celebrities such as Sophia Bush, Halsey, and Jamie Foxx have spoken out against police brutality and shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement by taking part in protests across the country. While most protests have been peaceful, others have included looting, fires, and violence. Controversial YouTube star Jake Paul raised eyebrows when he was spotted at a mall in Scottsdale, Ariz. — a location where some individuals were stealing merchandise and vandalizing shops, per TMZ

Paul took to social media to clear the air and explain the real reason he was at the scene. Find out what he had to say about the sensitive situation.

Jake Paul wanted to 'share' his 'experience' with fans

Jake Paul reportedly posted videos on social media of the chaotic scene at a mall in Arizona on May 30, 2020 — a location where people were stealing goods and vandalizing property. In one of the videos, which was shared on TMZ, people can be seen launching fireworks at the building and ransacking the shopping center. Paul was at the scene and said his eyes were "bleeding" from tear gas, but he claims he did not participate in any destruction or violence.

"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism," he wrote on social media on May 31, 2020. "For context, we spent the day doing our part to peacefully protest one day 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 his aim was to educate his followers — more than 13 million on Instagram and about 20 million on YouTube. "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," he wrote. "We were strictly documenting, not engaging." 

"This is not the time to attack each other, it's time to join together and evolve," he said.

Why Jake Paul is feeling the heat for filming at the mall

Even though Jake Paul claimed he wasn't involved in stealing items from a mall in Arizona, many people were not happy about his presence on the scene.

"Jake Paul, a millionaire going out on the streets to destroy shops, cars, etc. while filming everything for new YouTube content. He's part of the problem," one critic tweeted, per the Daily Mail. Another tweeted: "F**k Jake Paul for looting and escalating violence in these protests rather than donating and redistributing his obscene wealth to help the cause." 

Paul is one of the world's highest-paid YouTube stars. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he is sitting on a fortune of about $19 million.

Paul's activism has extended beyond his controversial involvement at the mall. On May 28, 2020, he posted a link to a petition calling for justice for George Floyd. "Don't scroll past this without taking action ... together we can make a difference," Paul tweeted. 

Jake Paul has faced controversy before

It might not surprise some fans that Jake Paul is no stranger to controversy. Just one instance? In February 2020, Paul caught heat for a program he created called the "Financial Freedom Movement," which was inspired by his distaste for traditional schooling. "Basically I'm sick of our education system and how it's teaching kids 0 real-life skills for them to secure there own future," he wrote in a tweet. "I'm creating a movement for everyone who wants to take life into their own hands and learn real-life skills from actual professionals."

The program, which is seemingly geared toward young people, costs $19.99 a month and includes seminars like "Money-Making Machines With Jake," to name one example,  as BuzzFeed News journalist Lauren Strapagiel reported. Strapagiel tried out some of the classes and described the experience, "Throughout the course, Paul delivers his advice with all the chutzpah and know-how of a high school kid who just remembered he had to give a presentation in social studies class. His advice is mostly limp rhetoric about working hard and he fails to give any actual specifics about how to do anything." 

Others seconded Strapagiel's take, calling Paul's program a "scam."

Speaking of scams, the Ohio native admitted to "fake marrying" fellow YouTube star Tana Mongeau in July 2019, according to Entertainment Tonight. This news came on the heels of Paul and Mongeau reportedly charging fans between $50 to $75 a pop to watch the live-streamed nuptials. Trés shady.