On Friday, New York City’s Union Square had a near riot-like situation when a massive crowd gathered for a giveaway hosted by two social media influencers, Twitch streamer Kai Cenat and another, Fanum.
The NYPD is not pleased, and Cenat and as well as some more people are likely to be charged.
Who Are Kai Cenat And Fanum?
Kai Cenat is the most-subscribed streamer on Twitch with 6.5 million followers. Plus, he has over 4 million followers on YouTube and over 5.5 million on Instagram. On a Twitch stream on Wednesday, Cenat announced that he would be hosting a “huge giveaway,” repeated in a now since-deleted X post. Cenat asked people to be there by 4 PM ET. By 3 PM itself, the park was full of people and Cenat even posted a three-minute stream on Twitch that showed a packed audience and nothing more.
As per CNN, Cenat said he would be giving away computers, Play Station 5s, microphones, keyboards, webcams, gaming chairs, headphones, and gift cards. Along with Cenat, another social media streamer, Fanum was also part of the event which ended up creating quite a furor within the government ranks, given that it was unauthorized and unplanned.
The growing number of crowds made NYPD announce that they had activated a “Level 2” response to handle the crowds and clear NYPD activate a “Level 4” response, the highest level of disaster response.
Here’s a glimpse:
Footage from the Kai Cenat meet-up / giveaway / riot yesterday in New York.
I really do feel like Creators are responsible for their fan’s behavior.
Creators need to know their draw + how to run public events. So much destruction yesterday. pic.twitter.com/QPf1c1FXab
— Jack Appleby (@jappleby) August 5, 2023
NYPD Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey Gives Details
As per New York City Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, witch video game streamer Kai Cenat was in custody after the incident and is likely facing two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.
In a press conference, Maddrey said that at least three officers were injured and a sergeant broke his hand during a scuffle that broke out. More than 65 people were arrested, including about 30 juveniles.
Maddrey continued to say, “It was about 300 people around 1:30, not a big crowd, something we would expect for a social media event like this. But this event grew exponentially, rapidly, fast, and again this is the power of social media. There were thousands of young people here at this event. This wasn’t a permitted event. It wasn’t a sanctioned event.”
Maddrey said that as the crowd grew, “individuals in the park began to commit acts of violence towards the police and the public.” He said that some picked up items from a nearby construction site and weaponized them, “You had people walking around with shovels, axes, and other tools from the construction. Individuals were also lighting fireworks, throwing them towards the police, they were throwing them towards each other.”
Here’s NYPD’s detailed official take on the same:
Watch live as NYPD executives provide an update to today’s incident in Union Square Park. https://t.co/J8fJfr3we1
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) August 5, 2023
Kai Cenat Whisked Away By NYPD
At the event, Cenat was pounced upon as soon as he got down from his car, and as per Maddrey, he was removed by police for “safety reasons.” The Twitch streamer did not reach out to the authorities to obtain a permit for the gathering and so it was declared an unlawful assembly.
Given that a lot of the crowd was mostly youth and juveniles, Maddrey noted that some parents came out to the park to search for their children, but he wished more parents had done so to break up the disorderly and unruly nature of the crowd. Along with police officers, several young people had also been injured, and as per CNN, Cenat has been charged with two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, among other charges. He was arrested but is out now.
Many on X lauded NYPD for a job well done and felt that people like Cenat should be banned. In fact, Twitch itself has banned him some five times already, perhaps the sixth time is the charm as one note, “F— it. Grown-a– sports fans do this same sh–. It’s actually less embarrassing that kids are doing this cuz even kids who are raised well do dumb sh–. Kai Cenat’s buck tooth GROWN a– is an imbecile for inciting this.”
Here’s another video of New York going wild:
New York City is completely out of control. Kai Cenat, a popular Twitch streamer, held a giveaway that turned into a massive riot in Union Square. pic.twitter.com/IGyxFSh6NK
— nok er nok (@nokernoknu) August 5, 2023