Jake Paul has denied looting during a protest against racial inequality in Arizona
Jake Paul is denying that he took part in looting captured on video at an Arizona mall after backlash about his appearance sprung up online.
In multiple videos posted to Instagram and Twitter, Paul and members of his crew are seen outside and inside an Arizona mall where looting is taking place.
It remained unclear from the videos whether Paul and his team were actively involved in any looting, but commenters on social media, including prominent members of the YouTube community, criticized Paul for his appearance at the scene regardless. Paul’s new statement claims that “neither I, nor anyone in our group, was engaged in any looting or vandalism.”
“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,” added Paul. “I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law.”
However, Paul added in the statement that he understands the “anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed.”
Several videos and photos posted online appeared to show Jake Paul in areas where looting and vandalism were taking place, including showing him standing with people setting fireworks off.
During the protests over the past week, it has been suggested that in some places white people have been responsible for violent acts that have reflected badly on other protesters.
At least 4,100 people have been arrested over several days of protests, according to a tally compiled by the Associated Press news agency. Arrests have been made over a range of offences, from looting and blocking motorways to breaking curfew.
Radio 1 Newsbeat has contacted Jake Paul for comment.