Jake Paul, a man who’s been publicly filmed using the n-word and whose career banks on archetypal white masculinity that glorifies needless conflict and violence and domineering aggression, wants everyone to know that he’s actually the victim after a video surfaced placing him among the people looting at protests in Arizona.
On Saturday, Jake Paul and his friends were seen filming protests at Fashion Place mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. Following accusations that he and his team were among those looting the mall, the YouTuber released a statement:
Protestors have been tear-gassed all weekend in Scottsdale. Paul and his crew might very well have been among such protestors. However, let’s not pretend why he was there, as he and his crew followed people around with a camera crew. He can wax poetic about “horrific injustices”—which he and many of his friends will never face—as he can play victim about the experiences he endured while out in Arizona Saturday night.
But does Paul think protestors, journalists, or anyone with an internet connection and common sense will suddenly suffer amnesia? Perhaps he hoped we’d all forgotten about any single news item concerning him or his brother, as they’ve amassed fortunes on conflict, aggression, and controversy. With the evidence the Paul brothers have provided, in the years they’ve haunted the national spotlight, he was there to exploit the genuine unrest of actual protestors for his own personal gain. Just look at every YouTube video with a clickbait thumbnail, or every opportunistic cash grab, or the many accusations of racism, manipulation, and profiteering against his influencer squad, Team 10.
Jake Paul is not a victim. He represents many of the systems that many have been in the streets fighting against, an example of what institutionalized racism and a national white supremacist rhetoric foster in young, white men. Get out of the streets, Jake Paul, and stay out. [People]
If I were a creative director for a global fashion empire worth approximately $28 billion, I would simply not donate $50 to protestors during the largest uprisings against racist policing and state violence seen in decades. Were that impossible, I would also not tell people I’d only donated $50. Likewise, I’d not log onto the internet and shame anyone for busting my store windows in. Thankfully, I’m not Virgil Abloh, who seems incapable of doing any of these things.
Over the weekend, Abloh shared a donation he’d made to protestors in Miami, via Instagram Stories:
It’s been a minute since I’ve seen someone so brazenly brush off their extremely obvious net worth, especially a designer who’s banked on the overly radical, confrontational, and political aspects of streetwear.
Here’s how Don Lemon is feeling:
This is melting my brain in the worst way: