Light Wave


Influencer Kai Cenat Charged with Inciting Riot after Union Sq. Event Turns Violent - 65 Arrested

By Belal Awad · August 5, 2023

In brief…

  • Popular Twitch streamer and YouTuber Kai Cenat organized a giveaway in Manhattan's Union Square, attracting thousands of people.
  • Chaos ensued as the supply of freebies ran out, leading to violence, property destruction, and large-scale disorder.
  • Law enforcement responded with 65 arrests.
  • Kai Cenat was taken into custody and is expected to face charges for inciting a riot.
NYPD officers faced off with an unruly crowd in Union Square after a givaway event grew violent.  Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia

A game-console giveaway organized by popular Twitch streamer and YouTuber Kai Cenat turned into chaos resulting in 65 arrests as thousands packed Manhattan’s Union Square Friday. The event quickly spiraled into mayhem, with individuals, many of them young teens, resorting to violence acts and destruction of property.

The giveaway, promoted by Cenat through his social media channels, promised to distribute popular game consoles to lucky fans who attended the gathering. However, as fans started filling the square, the atmosphere quickly became tense. Frustrations grew when the supply of game consoles ran out before many attendees could claim their free prize.

Witnesses reported chaos erupting as people climbed onto vehicles, hurled objects, threw punches, and scaled structures in the park. Law enforcement authorities were overwhelmed as the situation degenerated into chaos, leading to a massive police response and 65 arrests.
Kai Cenat was taken into custody by police, who plan to charge him with inciting a riot, holding him accountable for the mass disruption.

“We have encountered things like this before, but never to this level of dangerousness,” said NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, noting the unprecedented scale of the incident.

Social media has given rise to a new era of influencer marketing with creators commanding large followings and wielding wide sway over their audiences.