A Twitch influencer’s giveaway in Manhattan quickly morphed into mayhem Friday as thousands of his young fans mobbed Union Square Park — assaulting cops, smashing cars and screaming in a wild, nearly three-hour scene. Gamer Kai Cenat, who has over 20 million Twitch followers, planned to give away PlayStation 5s, computers, microphones and other gaming accessories at the real-life meet-up scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The location of the mass gathering wasn’t announced until just before Cenat arrived at the park and a permit was never obtained, officials said. Videos show the 21-year-old
A massive gathering of people showed up on Friday afternoon at New York City’s Union Square for a giveaway hosted by two social media influencers, mega-popular Twitch streamer Kai Cenat and another streamer, Fanum. Cenat is the most-subscribed streamer on Twitch, according to TwitchTracker. The giveaway was set to take place at Union Square Park at 4PM ET, and the park was full of people by 3PM.
An earlier video posted by Cenat from the inside of a vehicle showed him talking about multiple PS5s he intended to give away while showing off a huge stack of $100 gift cards. The video quickly devolves into chaos when Cenat exits the vehicle, with the crowd immediately collapsing on Cenat and his group. Cenat also posted a nearly three-minute stream on Twitch that failed to show much.
On Saturday, ABC News reported the streamer, Kai Carlos Cenat III, had been issued a desk appearance ticket for charges including at least two counts of inciting a riot and released from custody early Saturday morning. According to the Associated Press, a police spokesperson said Cenat is due to appear in court on August 18th.
The only public statement from those involved with planning the event has been an Instagram story posted by Kai Cenat’s AMP (Any Means Possible) group, saying, “We apologize to all of those impacted, and we are fully cooperating with local authorities.”
In one press conference given after the incident, NYPD chief of department Jeffrey Maddrey responded to questions about Cenat, saying, “we do have him,” but didn’t specify in what precinct. According to Maddrey, the NYPD became aware of the posts at about 1:30PM ET, before the posts went viral at around 3PM. After some in the crowd acted violently, he said, the police removed Cenat from the park before eventually declaring the gathering an unlawful assembly.
During a second press conference Friday, Maddrey announced that Cenat would be charged with “at least two counts” of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly. At that time, he told reporters there had been 65 arrests, including 30 juveniles, and also noted several civilians and police officers who were sent to the hospital after the event to have injuries treated, including at least one teenager harmed by fireworks and some people who suffered broken bones.
Cenat and Fanum continued posting to social media on Friday before their accounts went quiet. Posts shared on (and in some cases, quickly deleted from) their Instagram stories included one with the text, “I love you guys to the fullest you guys are amazing, THE LOVE FROM HOME BASE IS REAL, Please be safe.”