Twitch streamer Kai Cenat’s NYC giveaway event turns into riotous situation

The scene outside Union Square station in New York. CBS
The scene outside Union Square station in New York. CBS

New York City’s Union Square Park witnessed scenes of chaos and multiple arrests as a highly anticipated video game console giveaway hosted by popular Twitch streamer Kai Cenat took an unexpected and violent turn on Friday afternoon. 

The event, which attracted around 2,000 enthusiastic participants, quickly escalated into a clash between attendees and law enforcement. 

Kai Cenat, known for his gaming content and comedic reactions, had announced the giveaway on his Twitch channel earlier in the week, promising a massive array of prizes including PlayStation 5 devices, PCs, keyboards, and gaming chairs. Despite the event’s scheduled start time of 4pm, the park had swelled with eager attendees by 3 p.m., leading to a rapid and overwhelming crowd.

Local authorities, caught off guard by the sheer number of people and the heightened excitement, swiftly intervened as the situation escalated. Reports indicate that bottles, rocks, and paint cans were hurled at both police officers and the general public, prompting a significant police response.

New York City Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, addressing the incident, stated that Kai Cenat was removed from the area for his safety as thousands of predominantly young individuals converged on Union Square. While the Twitch streamer has not been charged, police officials are reportedly considering potential charges, including incitement of a riot.

The unexpected turn of events highlights the growing influence of online personalities and their ability to mobilise large groups of followers for real-world gatherings. The incident also underscores the challenges law enforcement faces in managing such events, particularly when they devolve into violence and endanger public safety.

As of now, no serious injuries have been reported, and the area surrounding Union Square has been brought under control. 


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