By Karen Matthews
NEW YORK (AP) — The 21-year-old social media influencer who was charged with inciting a riot after a crowd of thousands of his followers erupted in chaos in New York City last week says he is “beyond disappointed” in the bad behavior.
“Beyond disappointed in anybody who became disruptive that day, bro,” streamer Kai Cenat said on Twitch on Wednesday.
Speaking publicly for the first time since some of his followers jumped on cars and hurled bottles during the Aug. 4 mayhem in Manhattan’s Union Square, Cenat added, “None of that is cool, bro, you feel what I’m saying?”
Thousands of fans of Cenat, who has millions of followers on Twitch, YouTube and other platforms, showed up in Union Square after Cenat announced that he would be there giving away video game consoles and other electronic devices.
A crowd of mostly young people packed into Union Square Park, with some running running through nearby streets, swinging objects at car windows and climbing on top of buses.
Police said several people were injured, including at least four who were taken to hospitals, and 65 people were arrested.
Cenat, who did not have a permit for the Union Square gathering, was arrested on charges of inciting a riot and promoting an unlawful gathering. He has an Aug. 18 court date.
Cenat, who grew up in the Bronx but now lives in Atlanta, said he had planned the event as a gift to his hometown.
“It has been my dream to want to give back to the community that made me who I am, bro,” he said on Twitch. “But after Friday, bro, I’ve come to realize the amount of not only power but influence that I have on people.”
Cenat said he had watched videos of people jumping on cars “and I’m asking myself when I’m watching the video, ‘Why? Like, why?’ You feel what I’m saying?”
Cenat later recited the Lord’s Prayer and said he was sorry “for those who’ve been affected by this whole thing.”
A message seeking additional comment on the Union Square event was left with a representative for Cenat.