“Look at them, pointing guns at me — pointing guns at me right now,” he continued. “No cap, that’s tear gas, bro.”
In his statement on Twitter, Mr. Paul claimed that he had spent the earlier part of his day peacefully protesting “one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen” and that his goal was to “bring more attention to the anger felt in every neighborhood we traveled through.”
Mr. Paul has leveraged major news events for content in the past and has engaged in political issues. In 2017, he drove to Texas in a pickup truck and claimed that he would rescue residents who had been trapped by Hurricane Harvey floodwaters. In 2018, after the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, Mr. Paul created a documentary-style video on the attack in which he laid out a five-point plan he had devised to stop school shootings. It included things like having children carry bulletproof shields inside their backpacks, installing bulletproof windows in classrooms, and putting more law enforcement officers in schools. He was sharply criticized by many young activists online. In 2018, he also faced backlash for using a racial slur in a freestyle rap.
The looting at the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall was not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, nor any of the groups peacefully demonstrating in Scottsdale and Phoenix against police brutality. In response to peaceful protests around the country, police officers have used batons, gas and rubber bullets on protesters, bystanders and journalists. Videos documenting police brutality have been going viral on social media, and many have speculated that Mr. Paul sought to exploit the topicality of police brutality to rack up views.
After posting a black square to Instagram on Tuesday with the caption “black lives matter #BLM,” Mr. Paul’s page was flooded with comments chastising him for his presence at the Saturday night looting.
Logan Paul, Jake Paul’s brother and a fellow YouTube star, posted a passionate speech on anti-racism to his YouTube channel and podcast on Tuesday calling on white people and those in power to “acknowledge and weaponize” their privilege.
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/style/jake-paul-charged-protests.html