Giveaway gone wrong: Twitch celeb charged for inciting riot in NYC

As the crowd grew to thousands, people began vandalizing businesses, attacking police and each other.

Giveaway gone wrong: Twitch celeb charged for inciting riot in NYC
Mary Altaffer / AP

Twitch streamer Kai Cenat is being charged for inciting a riot in New York after a giveaway announcement caused major chaos in Union Square.

The social media influencer, who has over 4 million subscribers on YouTube, 5.6 million followers on Instagram, and 6.5 million on Twitch, announced on his Twitch live stream that he would be hosting a huge giveaway on Friday at 4 p.m. in Union Square Park. 

Cenat promised to give out computers, gaming consoles, webcams, gaming chairs, gift cards and more, saying New York deserved it. 

But the moment turned to mayhem.


In a press conference, police said by 3 p.m. Friday, thousands of people began to arrive in Union Square. 

"The park and the surrounding streets were overrun with people. They were obstructing both vehicular and pedestrian traffic," New York Police Department Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said. 

When Cenat arrived, the gathering grew further out of control.

"Individuals in the park began to commit acts of violence against the police and the public," Maddrey said.

People began vandalizing construction sites, food trucks and grabbing and destroying plates from outside diners. They also lit fireworks, and threw them toward police and each other.

The chaos prompted the NYPD to activate "Level 4" response efforts, which is the highest level of disaster response.

Cenat was removed from the scene by police for safety reasons.

Police said they gave people multiple opportunities to leave. After numerous warnings, police began issuing arrests.

A total of 65 arrests were made, 30 of which were juveniles.

Cenat was charged with two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.