Addison Pierre Maalouf, YourFellowArab,
Star YouTuber Addison Pierre Maalouf sitting at the Departmental Judicial Police Service (SDPJ) office in Cap-Haitien on April 1, 2024. Photo by Onz Chery for Go West Now

Overview:

After being held by a gang in Port-au-Prince, YouTuber Addison Pierre “Arab” Maalouf missed his return flight to the U.S. after getting into a dispute with a rental car dealer.

CAP-HAITIEN — YouTube star Addison Pierre Maalouf, aka “YourFellowArab,” thought he was finally going to rejoin his family in the United States after paying a $50,000 ransom to a gang in Port-au-Prince. But when Maalouf got to the airport in Haiti’s second largest city, he got into an argument with a rental car dealer he said raised the price for the vehicle he used to drive to Port-au-Prince.

He missed his flight and now feels stuck.

“This guy wants money from blan,” Maalouf said, as he sat at the local Departmental Judicial Police Service (SDPJ) office Monday night, hours after the incident.

“This country is beautiful, but I just personally have been through a lot,” Maalouf added. “I thought I was about to go see my family.”

Maalouf, a YouTuber with 1.44 million subscribers who often vlogs about his travels to gang infested areas around the world, went to Haiti about three weeks ago. He said a gang in Port-au-Prince kidnapped him March 14, a claim that raised suspicions because he was seen in a viral video enjoying his time with the gang. Maalouf said he tried to “make the best of it” until a $50,000 ransom arrived for his release.

Maalouf said when he returned to Cap-Haitien, the rental car dealer raised the fee, which Maalouf did not disclose. He and the dealer argued. Then, Maalouf said, a group “cornered” him and began shouting at him.

“Fifteen dudes tried taking advantage of me so I let it out on the country,” Maalouf said. “The country is beautiful. The people out here are amazing, good-hearted. And I let the few bad people — because they ended up in my life, my experience — make me call the country sh*thole.”

Addison Pierre Maalouf, Your FellowArab,
YouTube star Addison Pierre Maalouf eating griyo with fried plantains at the Departmental Judicial Police Service (SDPJ) office in Cap-Haitien on April 1, 2024. Photo by Onz Chery for Go West Now

Maalouf did not provide the location of the vehicle nor the identity of the rental car dealer.

Maalouf said he attempted to purchase the vehicle and the rental car dealer agreed on the price before Maalouf returned to Cap-Haitien. It is unclear whether the rental car dealer tried to charge Maalouf more money because Maalouf may have been gone longer with the vehicle than initially estimated or if the dealer targeted him as a foreigner, as he claims. Or, if the situation was potentially a bit of both.

Kidnapping claim raises eyebrows

Maalouf's earlier experiences in Haiti had prompted him to say in a tweet the embattled country is a “sh*thole” people should not visit, advice that the U.S. State Department has been issuing for years. Maalouf has since deleted and apologized for the tweet.

Maalouf’s ordeal began when he rented the car in Cap-Haitien to go interview gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier in Port-au-Prince. A Haitian friend, Jean Sacra Sean Roubens, accompanied him on his journey.

Maalouf said the vehicle was in very bad shape. The speed armor and the transmission were not functioning and the lights were falling off.

While Maalouf was in Port-au-Prince, men dressed in Brigade for the Security of Protected Areas (BSAP) uniform grabbed him off the street. They took him to the 400 Mawozo gang in Croix-des-Bouquets, where he was held for 17 days.

Addison Pierre Maalouf, Lanmo San Jou,
Star YouTuber Addison Pierre Maalouf holding a cigar and a glass bottle of Prestige with a smile on his face next to 400 Mawozo gang leader Joseph “Lanmò San Jou” Wilson when the gang kidnapped him in March 2024 in Croix-des-Bouquets. Screenshot of TikTok video

During that time, the video surfaced showing him with a cigar and a glass bottle of Prestige, sitting next to 400 Mawozo leader Joseph Wilson, better known as Lanmò San Jou, Death Any Day. Many viewers questioned the alleged kidnapping because Maalouf seemed very relaxed, posturing and learning some Creole words.

“Behind the videos are 10 guys holding guns,” Maalouf said. “I played the games I had to play, you understand? I’m locked in a room for 17 days, I can either cry or I can make friends with them. But I'm still kidnapped.”

Maalouf has been staying at the Departmental Direction of the Northern Police, where police escorted him after the incident at the airport. He did not share if he has rebooked another flight.

Email me at [email protected]
Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for Go West Now. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining Go West Now in 2019.

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