Kai Cenat NYC Giveaway Riot (2024)

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Overview

Kai Cenat NYC Giveaway Riot, also known as Kai Cenat Union Square Park PS5 Giveaway, refers to a riot that took place in New York City's Union Square Park after Twitch streamer Kai Cenat, Fanum and other AMP members such as Duke Dennis held a giveaway event to hand out PlayStation 5 consoles, PCs, gift cards, video games and other peripherals and prizes on August 4th, 2023, which was promoted online days before. Thousands of people reportedly showed up to the event, leading to the destruction of property, personal injury and several arrests, including Kai Cenat himself being taken into custody on charges including allegedly inciting a riot. The event was widely reported on in the media, as well as sparking a wave of discourse and memes online.

Background

On August 2nd, 2023, Kai Cenat (who has over 20 million Twitch followers) and fellow streamer Fanum announced that they were going to do a massive giveaway at Union Square Park in New York City on August 4th, with possible prizes being PS5s, entire PC gaming systems, various gift cards and other items. The announcement, since deleted by Kai Cenat, was reposted by the stan account @KaiMafiaUpdates[1] on August 2nd (shown below, left). The giveaway was also promoted on Cenat's Instagram Story in a post on August 4th (repost shown below, right).[11]


On the day of the event, which began around 3:30 p.m. EST on August 4th, it was reported that thousands of people had shown up at Union Square Park. As thousands gathered in the area, fights began to break out among fans looking to win prizes, as well as vandalism such as destruction of property to nearby vehicles and a construction site, as reported by the X account @BoreCure[2] who uploaded multiple videos of different scenes during the event (shown below).

Kai Cenat and Fanum caused a riot in NYC's Union Square after promising to distribute free PS5s, PCs, gift cards, etc.

Hundreds of youngsters gathered, leading to fights.

The NYPD was on scene to disperse the crowd and warned of mass transit disruptions and traffic delays. pic.twitter.com/qZhbM2MpOE

— BoreCure (@CureBore) August 4, 2023


Shortly after word began spreading of the various destruction and violence at the giveaway, news outlets began reporting that the event had devolved into a "full-on riot."[12] According to NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, the crowd turned violent within half an hour as rioters tossed cones, bottles, rocks and brawled with each other before police escorted Cenat out of the area for his safety. Maddrey later told reporters at a press conference that evening:

NYPD became aware at about 1:30 p.m. of a crowd forming in Union Square. It was quickly determined that an influencer was posting on social media about showing up to Union Square. He was encouraging all of his followers to come to the park.

Developments

As the riot continued into the late afternoon on August 4th, 2023, it was reported that the crowd of people began to attempt and successfully managed to hijack larger vehicles, with video footage showing a UPS[3] truck and a Fresh Direct[4] truck being stolen during the ensuing mayhem, which ended with several police officers having items thrown at them and subsequently taking actions to disperse the crowd (shown below).

Teens stealing a fresh direct truck in New York City during Kai Cenat’s Union square meet up. #kaicenat #fanum #amp #nyc #unionsquare pic.twitter.com/xz3N2bPagU

— charlieeyny (charlieeyny) <a href="https://twitter.com/charlieeyny/status/1687572610438082561?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 4, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Teens stealing a UPS truck in New York City during Kai Cenat and Fanums Union square meet up. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/kaicenat?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#kaicenat</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fanum?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fanum</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/amp?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#amp</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nyc?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nyc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/unionsquare?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#unionsquare</a> <a href="https://t.co/ixKfFWXMpg">pic.twitter.com/ixKfFWXMpg</a></p>&mdash; charlieeyny (charlieeyny) August 4, 2023


Aerial video of the event began to surface online after news outlets started to report on it en masse, with ABCnews7[5] having its footage posted showing the large mass of people that had gathered in anticipation of Cenat showing up to start the giveaway. Further footage was later released[6] that showed Cenat and his crew attempting to escape from the area with several fans grabbing onto the vehicle and later falling off while it was accelerating at a high speed through Manhattan (shown below).

@staygroundead #kaicenat giveaway shuts down #newyork 😳 #amp #ny #nyc #unionsquare #foryou #fyp ♬ original sound – staygroundead
@xpluggyx #kaicenat #kai #fanum #dukedennis #nyc #unionsquare #fyp ♬ original sound – 🔝🎬xPLUGGYx🎬🔝

Aftermath and Arrest

After the crowd was fully dispersed later in the evening on August 4th, 2023, video footage of the aftermath began to circulate online, with X user @BGOnTheScene[9] uploading footage of the destroyed police barricades, construction site, businesses that closed for the day and the maintenance crews that were trying to clean up the area, while claiming that there were multiple arrests made including Cenat himself (shown below).[13]

NYC riot aftermath

Riot at Union Square in New York earlier this afternoon, where thousands had gathered at a giveaway event by Twitch streamer Kai Cenat. Multiple injuries and arrests occurred, with police also taking Cenat into custody. Multiple area businesses have closed up… pic.twitter.com/ZG5sbQ02pb

— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 5, 2023


The arrest of Kai Cenat was later confirmed by both of the X accounts @Wantedbythehoes[10] and @ykkswb, who provided the footage of Cenat being escorted into a police car by the New York Police Department and footage of the officers speaking at a press conference later in the day in which they said that Kai Cenat was formally charged with multiple counts of inciting a riot (shown below).

Clip of Kai Cenat getting escorted and arrested by NYPD pic.twitter.com/H8NoJtYpQK

— W𖤐NTED (@wantedbythehoes) August 4, 2023


According to the NYPD and its press conference late on August 4th, police made roughly 65 arrests (30 being juveniles), four civilians were injured and three officers suffered injuries, with two being taken to a nearby hospital and one sergeant reportedly sustaining a broken hand from the riot.[14] NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said the event was also "unpermitted" and "not sanctioned."


AMP's Response

On August 5th, 2023, AMP (Any Means Possible), the streaming organization that Cenat's signed to, issued an official response to the riot on its Instagram story.[15] Among many statements, AMP said, "We recognize that our audience and influence are growing, and with that comes greater responsibility. We are deeply disheartened… and do not condone that behavior" (shown below).


Kai Cenat's Response

On August 10th, 2023, Cenat streamed for the first time since the riot and disavowed the violence of the day. He said he wanted to hold a nice event but underestimated his influence, which let to the fracas. His first court date is August 16th and he said the upcoming case will impact his streaming schedule.

Online Reactions

Throughout the course of the event on August 4th, 2023, news of the riots spawned many different reactions online that came at different intervals.

When the event was first starting and the large crowd of people appeared, numerous reactions online were about the PS5 that Cenat had promised to give away, with many people making memes and joking about being the one out of thousands to win the PlayStation and having to get out alive, as seen in the meme posted by X user @man_on_venus[7] on August 4th, featuring Madara versus the ninja army (shown below).

POV: you're the guy who made it out of the Kai Cenat giveaway with the PS5pic.twitter.com/cSSLtK1Lm9

— ron (@man_on_venus) August 5, 2023


Another common reaction was the visceral condemnation of the event, with people upset at both the rioters and the police response to them. For example, on August 4th, X user @anunnamedpoet[8] uploaded a video of the police pulling a Kai Cenat fan from the crowd and slamming his head into a taxi's back window with enough force to shatter the glass, causing several of the surrounding people to immediately stop and call out the officer (shown below).

https://t.co/ug0HGv5Pvq pic.twitter.com/d8Ju529FyG

— Bruce Schaff (@anunnamedpoet) August 4, 2023


Various Examples

@weird.natnat kai really started a riot 💀 | #fyp #kaicenat #nyc #newyork #fanum ♬ original sound – Nat🍃
@jacktaylor776 London is not real i swr 😂😂 #trending #viral #blowthisup #kaicenatmeetup #kaicenat #amiotalio ♬ Just Wanna Rock – Lil Uzi Vert
@yusefclips Kai Cenat Responds To The New York City Chaos…😳 #amp #kaicenat #kai #kaicenattv #kaicenatclips #fyp #fypシ #fypage #foryou #foryoupage #foryourpage #amp #km #kaicenatfunnymoments #viral #trending #sturdy #Duke #dukedennis #elfanum #fanum #fanumtv #agent00 #agent00edits #imdavisssyt #ChrisNxtDoor #yourrage #yourragegaming #brucedropemoff #newyork #nyc ♬ f*ckumean – Gunna
@wayneflex0 I love new york . #fyp #nyc #kaicenat #viral #waynefx ♬ original sound – F L E X O 🖤

Search Interest

External References

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