Social media influencer Kai Cenat, boasting millions of followers across various platforms, has found himself facing serious charges of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly in the aftermath of a chaotic giveaway event held at Union Square Park in New York City.
The controversy began when Cenat announced the giveaway during a Twitch livestream on Wednesday, promising extravagant prizes like computers, Play Station 5s, microphones, and gift cards. The event was scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. in Union Square Park, as Cenat expressed his belief that New York City deserved such a grand gesture.
By 3 p.m. on the day of the event, crowds started to gather at the park, rapidly swelling in numbers to a point where vehicular and pedestrian traffic was severely obstructed. The influx of attendees prompted the NYPD to activate a “Level 4” response, their highest disaster response level, after an initial “Level 2” response proved insufficient to manage the situation.
As the day progressed, the crowd grew unruly, with individuals engaging in acts of violence towards both the police and the public. Some attendees even raided a nearby construction site and brandished dangerous tools. Fireworks were set off, and chaos ensued as the situation escalated further.
— CBKNEWS (@CBKNEWS121) August 4, 2023
Amid the disorder, Cenat was removed by the police for “safety reasons” as he had not informed law enforcement of the event or obtained a permit, leading to the declaration of an unlawful assembly.
Tragically, several police officers suffered injuries during the chaos, and multiple arrests were made in an attempt to restore order. Many attendees were detained, including 30 juveniles.
Cenat has been charged with two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, among other offenses, and CNN has sought comments from his representatives on the matter.
In the aftermath of the incident, NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey urged influencers to coordinate with law enforcement before holding such events to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place. He emphasized that while gatherings are not discouraged, they must not escalate to the point of endangering public safety.
kai cenat is officially getting charged by NYPD pic.twitter.com/QrVW5K50eq
— FearBuck (@FearedBuck) August 5, 2023
The situation has raised concerns about the impact of social media influencers’ actions and the need for responsible event planning in coordination with authorities. As the dust settles, New York City authorities continue to monitor the situation, ensuring that crowds do not pose further threats to public safety.