A man named Karp, as a wordmith put him on twitter, married to a woman named Fishel, found shrimp tails in a can of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And then he got Milkshake Ducked.
Chances are you’ve seen several of these names floating around on Twitter this week. That’s why: On Monday, Jensen Karp, a 41-year-old writer and producer in Los Angeles, was pouring out his second bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch when, he claims, something else came out. It appeared to be a cinnamon sugar coated shrimp tail, which turned into two sugar coated shrimp tails, plus a string, possible shrimp skin, and small black pieces encrusted on some of the squares Karp feared. to be rat droppings.
The content, according to Karp, appears to be the result of tampering with the product; he went on to tweet that one of the bags from his two-cereal package was stuck to the bottom. After emailing General Mills, the maker of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, he posted what he found on Twitter. “Ummmm @CTCSquares – why are there shrimp tails in my cereal?” (It’s not a little), ” he wrote next to a picture of suspiciously shaped objects.
For a while, it all seemed to follow the typical ‘guy finds something weird and posts it on Twitter’ plot. People made jokes about “not having this on their 2021 bingo cards!” And pointed out the absurdity of it all (“wtf I just opened my box of crunchy cinnamon toast and prawns,” said a next to a photo of a frozen bag of shrimp), they found some strange coincidences – that Karp is married to Danielle Fishel, aka the actress who played Topanga in Boy meets the world and who last year did sponsored content for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which Karp had previously been a regular on a podcast called Radio Shrimp Gun, and that this wasn’t even the first time General Mills had had a shrimp product fiasco (a Michigan blueberry conditioner shipped blueberries contaminated with shrimp for use in General Mills blueberry scones; General Mills sued them in 2011). Understandably, many people expressed healthy skepticism about whether this was all real – it seemed, after all, a little fishy.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch responded, of course. Karp told the New York Times that “in private they were always very nice” when communicating with him directly. But when the company released a public statement on Twitter claiming that the shrimp-like objects were in fact just accumulations of cinnamon sugar that weren’t properly mixed and that “there was no possibility of cross-contamination with shrimp, ”Karp was not thrilled. “All you have to do is say, ‘This is really disappointing, we’re going to look at it. We will recall those from your Costco. It’s such an easy thing to do in public relations, ”he told The Times. “But instead, they basically wanted to put me on gas.”
Karp said he declined General Mills’ offer to send the box to the company for review. “Anyone who tweets me to send the ENTIRE box to General Mills is a NARC,” he tweeted, presumably for fear that General Mills might simply destroy the evidence. Tuesday, Carp a dit that he had found a crustacean researcher at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles who was willing to use microscopy and DNA to identify the objects for free (still no update). Since Monday, Karp has tweeted 79 times.
“Shrimp Tails Cinnamon Toast Crunch guy” is just the latest nickname in a long list of unwitting “main characters” to burst onto social media. Tessica Brown became the “Gorilla Glue girl” after her hair was trapped under a stationary superglue helmet for a month. A guy named John Roderick became known as “Bean Dad” after doing a series of tweets about a weird experiment he had with his 9 year old daughter who didn’t know how to open a can of beans. “Curvy Wife Guy” is perhaps the prime example of someone who never intended to go viral, but who has since used the backlash as a stepping stone to greater fame.
But then something else happened that sometimes – but not always – follows this kind of sudden attention: Karp got Milkshake Ducked. “Milkshake Ducking” is what happens when the whole internet turns its attention to something innocuously fascinating (eg, a duck who loves milkshakes) before finding out that in fact the duck is racist. Sometimes this happens because people search social media history for someone looking for racism, sexism, homophobia, or unacceptable behavior. With Karp, it was former colleagues and partners who made the allegations.
After the tweets went viral, several women who had a relationship with or worked with Karp accused him of manipulative and emotionally violent behavior. Writer and Podcaster Melissa Stetten tweeted that he was a “narcissistic gas manipulator ex-boyfriend who once told me he was surprised he didn’t kill me because my life was so wasteful.” Since the tweet, she says she has received “a lot of texts” from other women who had had similar experiences.
Writer Stephanie Mickus added that Karp had told him to “be careful or I will never work in this town again” after a “surprise threesome”. Actor and writer Rory Uphold a tweeté that “this is the most violent person I have ever been with and I cry while typing this.” »Actor and writer Brittani Nichols, qui worked for Karp on a TBS rap fight show as the only black writer, tweeted about his horrific experience there. At the time of publication, Karp has not publicly addressed the allegations against him. Vox has reached out to Karp for comment.
This is one of those cases where even the term “Milkshake Duck” sounds too manly and light-hearted for what really happened: A relatively powerful man in the comedy business created something funny up to. which it is alleged that his entire career and personal life has left a long line of hurt and angry women. While some people will surely argue that “every time someone gets famous there will be people who hope to bring them down”, this does not explain or excuse allegations of emotional abuse between intimate partners or complaints at work. .
But what should we do with all this information? What happens when an attention-seeking individual goes extremely viral for some seemingly charming (or at least harmless) reason and is then declared to be potentially terrible? Complain about the anger of “culture cancellation” or the inability to “let people enjoy things” collectively? Mourn what might have been a fun story about shrimp tails in cereal, but which has since become another infamous case of powerful men who are horrible? Worried about future imitators tampering with cereal boxes? (It’s a real fear!)
No, as always, what we should learn from the Cinnamon Toast Crunch fiasco is the same thing we should learn every time someone goes viral: never tweet.