TikTok stars spark teen riot at Toronto Eaton Centre
Toronto's busiest downtown mall was even more hectic than usual this afternoon after swarms of screaming teens congregated for what was apparently a surprise meet-and-greet with a number of TikTok stars.
Canadians Mariano Castano, Sammy Ha, Malcolm Suarez, Draco Dez, Matthew Scarfone and Donae are among the influencers from the video platform who were rumoured to be making appearances near the Eaton Centre's first-floor fountain at around 2 p.m.
Toronto Police were dispatched to the site to help with crowd control after things got a little out of hand.
CROWD CONTROL:— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) January 2, 2020
- reports of large crowds gathering in the mall
- crowds are formed at the bottom 2 levels by the fountain
- officers o/s assisting security w/ crowd control
- expect delays inside the mall, and surrounding areas#GO9851
Unsuspecting shoppers and mall employees took to social media to grumble about the gathering, many of them frankly confused about the cause of the chaos.
"Eaton Centre" consequently became the number one trending Twitter topic in Toronto.
Some aptly pointed out that a bunch of fervent Gen Z-ers vying to catch a glimpse of "celebrities" from a burgeoning social media platform created just a few years ago is a perfect microcosm of the times.
It's the second day of the new decade and there already a packed meet and greet for a TikTok star at the Eaton Centre, we are indeed in an intense simulation!— Maryan Haye (@MaryanHaye) January 2, 2020
I work at the Eaton centre and I'm so annoyed with the tik too stars right now. There have been multiple shootings here and when we hear screams that is what we expect. Even one of my new coworkers texted her mom thinking this was the end. So disrespectful— Mary Liz (@marylizabetha) January 2, 2020
According to fans at the meet-and-greet, the event was broken up by police after about 20 minutes, to the teens' dismay.
"I thought it was going to be a chill thing where they'd just be walking around the mall," said 14-year-old attendee Jade Carroll. She and her friend Fabienne Frederick, also 14, went to the Eaton Centre on Thursday specifically to meet "Malcom, Samy and Mariano."
Instead, they found themselves in a mass of people pushing each other around.
At least one of the TikTokers posted a video of the social media troup getting escorted out of the mall and through Nathan Phillips Square by police and security personnel.
While previous generations revered the likes of Elvis and the Beatles, we have the joy of witnessing the worship of arguably talentless viral video stars. Hello, 2020!
- With files from Lauren O'Neil
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