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‘We’re all just having fun.’ NJ teen describes experience during chaotic influencer meet-and-greet

Javi Vargas says that people waited around for an hour or two before Kai Cenat and his entourage showed up.

Matt Trapani and Brittany Miller

Aug 5, 2023, 2:32 AM

Updated 318 days ago

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New York City descended into chaos on Friday when a social media influencer’s meet-and-greet event attracted thousands of people and led to a melee with police.
Kai Cenat is a well-known Twitch streamer and YouTube star known for his comedy-based content. He has millions of followers across the platforms.
Cenat posted on Instagram that he was giving away a PlayStation 5 and gift cards, attracting thousands of his fans to Union Square. Things got out of hand pretty quickly and the NYPD was called in.
News 12 New Jersey spoke with a Franklin Lakes teen who was at the event and said that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
“It was fun though. It wasn’t like dangerous or anything,” says 17-year-old Javi Vargas.
Vargas says that people waited around for an hour or two before Cenat and his entourage showed up.
“Everyone was just like, throwing water bottles, throwing stuff,” he says.
The NYPD says that the crowd started to get rowdy, with people climbing on top of vehicles, throwing chairs and raiding food carts.
“And then the police showed up and started throwing tear gas. Like I thought it was going to be a little more organized, but it's like with so many people and like [Cenat’s] influence, it wasn't going to work out,” Vargas says.
The NYPD says that 65 people were arrested – 35 of them under the age of 18. Cenat was also taken into custody and charged with at least two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.
“I would do it again just 'cause it’s such a - it was a good experience. It was fun. Like it wasn't like -- I feel like when, you know the older people look at it like 'Oh my god, look at these kids, they're literally crazy and stuff.’ But it’s really not,” Vargas says. “We're all just having fun at the end of the day. Yes, people were jumping on cars and stuff and it’s kinda like dangerous, but if those people weren't there, it wouldn't have happened.”
The NYPD says that multiple people were treated for injuries during the gathering, including several police officers.


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