Popular Twitch and YouTube streamer, Kai Carlo Cenat III, has found himself at the center of controversy after being charged with inciting a riot during a giveaway event in New York City. Known for his massive following and record-breaking number of subscribers on Twitch, Cenat partnered with fellow content creator Fanum to organize the event, enticing thousands of people to gather at Union Square Park in anticipation of winning PlayStation 5 consoles.
Unfortunately, what was meant to be an exciting event quickly escalated into chaos as the crowd spiraled out of control. Attendees began engaging in rowdy behavior, including throwing objects, physical altercations, setting off fireworks, and even jumping on cars in the vicinity. While Cenat himself is not directly accused of instigating violence or promoting it among his supporters, Chief Jeffrey Maddrey of the New York City Police Department stated that the streamer did not obtain the necessary permit for such a large-scale gathering.
Subsequently, Cenat was arrested and is now facing serious charges, including felony first-degree rioting, misdemeanor inciting a riot, and unlawful assembly. First-degree rioting carries a potential sentence of up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine in New York state, while inciting a riot can result in a one-year prison term and a $1,000 fine. Those involved in unlawful assembly may face up to three months in jail or a $500 fine.
In addition to Cenat’s arrest, approximately 65 others were detained by the police during the incident. The widespread havoc caused damage to food carts, police vehicles, and nearby stores, as well as resulting in injuries to both officers and civilians. As the situation unfolded, some attendees kneeled and initiated a “Black Lives Matter” chant, while others looted snacks and beverages from a nearby CVS store. Disturbingly, individuals even attempted to break into a city bus where the police were detaining some of the arrestees, a majority of whom were minors.
While the New York City Police Department has yet to disclose if the remaining individuals arrested will face charges, Cenat’s legal ordeal continues to unfold. Forbes reached out for further information, but no response was received. The court hearing for Cenat’s case is scheduled for August 18.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the power and potential danger inherent in social media. Cenat’s massive online presence allowed him to attract a massive crowd to Union Square Park; however, the lack of proper planning and adherence to legal regulations resulted in a chaotic and unsafe environment.
Kai Carlo Cenat III rose to prominence in 2018 with his YouTube prank videos and participation in online trends. He later joined the prominent content creators’ group, AMP, gaining millions of followers and billions of views on their collaborative YouTube videos. Cenat’s popularity continued to soar, earning him accolades such as being named one of Rolling Stone’s most influential creators and winning Streamer of the Year at both the Streamy Awards and the 2023 Streamer Awards.
As the fallout from the event continues to unfold, it remains to be seen what consequences Cenat will face, not only legally but also in terms of his online presence and reputation. With over 3.6 million YouTube followers and 6.5 million Twitch followers, this incident has undoubtedly left a noticeable impact on Cenat’s influential career.