A social media influencer’s giveaway event in Manhattan’s Union Square turned into chaos on Friday, resulting in multiple arrests and injuries. New York City Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey announced streamer, Kai Cenat, has been taken into custody and is likely to face charges for inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.
The incident occurred on Friday afternoon when thousands of people flocked to Union Square for the promised “huge” giveaway organized by Cenat on his Twitch channel. The event was set to feature prizes such as video game consoles, PCs, keyboards, gaming chairs, headphones, and other enticing items. By 3 p.m., the park was already filled with eager participants, far surpassing the expected turnout.
Chief Maddrey disclosed that the event was neither permitted nor sanctioned by the city, which could have contributed to the lack of control over the situation. As tensions escalated, chaos broke out, leading to a significant number of arrests. At least 65 individuals were taken into custody, with 30 of them being juveniles.
During the chaos, people began hurling bottles, fireworks, rocks, and paint cans that were obtained from a nearby construction site. Three officers were injured in the ensuing mayhem, with one sergeant suffering a broken hand. Chief Maddrey recounted the harrowing experience, stating, “Officers were attacked, we were crushed… I personally observed young people having panic attacks, anxiety attacks. People were suffering out here.”
The scene was captured by aerial footage, showing hundreds of individuals gathered in the park, some standing on cars, while police officers in plainclothes and uniforms attempted to control the situation. The situation seemed volatile as a loud bang echoed through the park at one point.
By 5:30 p.m., authorities managed to disperse the crowd and block all park entrances. Teens who had attended the event spoke of their experiences, with some expressing their admiration for Cenat, who they considered the “best person in the world.” Others came for the “vibes” and the chance to win prizes, but instead, they found themselves witnessing a chaotic scene unfold.
Cenat, who has been a content creator for several years, is best known for streaming gameplay, pranks, and comedic reactions on Twitch. He even set a record for the most active subscribers on the platform earlier this year after completing a 30-day uninterrupted live stream, also known as a subathon. However, his outrageous antics have landed him in trouble on the platform multiple times, leading to temporary bans.
As of Friday night, it remains unclear if Cenat has been formally booked on charges. The incident has raised concerns about the responsibility and accountability of social media influencers in organizing public events, and the impact of their actions on the community. Authorities are continuing their investigation into the matter to determine the full extent of the influencer’s involvement and the reasons behind the chaotic turnout.