YouTube star Jake Paul denies looting Arizona mall during George Floyd protests

Tom Lutz in New York

The YouTube star Jake Paul has denied taking part in looting at an Arizona mall on Saturday night.

Video emerged on Sunday of Paul standing inside a looted mall in Scottsdale.

Paul, who has 20m subscribers to his YouTube channel, said he had been protesting against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week.

Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by four officers, one of whom kneeled on his neck. Protests have spread across the US this weekend, with many turning violent in confrontation with police and national guard forces.

Paul, 23, could be seen wearing a mask and filming as the mall in Scottsdale was looted.

“To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” Paul said in a statement posted to Twitter.

He added in an Instagram story that police teargassed him and his companions during the protests.

Paul said: “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.”

Paul, whose brother Logan is also a YouTube star, has been involved in a number of controversies.

In 2018, he was filmed using the N-word while rapping. He was also accused of anti-social behaviour and was the subject of a number of noise complaints after moving into a house in West Hollywood.

After being sued by his landlords, he relocated to another area of Los Angeles.