In New York City, Twitch streamer and social media influencer, Kai Cenat, faces charges of inciting a riot. He held a meet-up in which he promised to give away a PlayStation and various other electronics and devices. The event quickly turned for the worse, with people turning violent toward others and the environment around them. The influencer was taken into custody and held overnight but released Saturday morning.
The chaotic events went down in Union Square on Friday, August 4th.
Amidst the chaos, the New York Police Department totaled 65 arrests, with nearly half of them being minors. Much of the crowd that had gathered for the giveaway were minors. Not only were there many arrests but there were many injuries as well. Many walked away with bloodied faces and about four people were driven off in an ambulance.
Cenat himself is only 21 years old.
His fanbase from his Twitch livestreams and YouTube videos tends to be quite young as well. He has over 6.5 million followers on Twitch and over 4 million on YouTube. In 2022, he won the Streamer of the Year award at the Streamy Awards, an award show dedicated to online content makers.
His team at AMP, the agency that represents Cenat, said that the goal of the meet-up with the giveaway was to show appreciation for the streamer’s fans. They said they have before held larger events of this nature before for the streamer, but never have they ended up like this one had. They included an apology for the way the event turned out saying, “We recognize that our audience and influence is growing, and with that comes greater responsibility. We are deeply disheartened by the outbreak of disorderly conduct that affected innocent people and businesses, and do not condone behavior.”
Everyone started getting violent before the giveaway had really begun. Cenat had been livestreaming from his car saying he would not begin until everyone was safe and secure outside. Eventually, he and his team went through the crowd, but that did not tame anything. By that point, the crowd was very violent. There were teens and young adults shouting, running, throwing things at cars, throwing objects all around, climbing on top of vehicles, and so much more. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and boatloads of injuries as a result.
Presently, Cenat is out of police custody but is expected to appear in court on August 18th.