By: SYDNEY YACULLO
Huntington Beach, CA was flooded with teens on May 22nd as they gathered for a stranger’s birthday party. The host of this party was user adrian.lopez517 on TikTok.
Unaware of how popular his post would get, 17 year old Adrian Lopez posted a Tiktok including a flyer for his “kickback” to celebrate his birthday, which was only meant for his school to see. According to Dailymail, Adrian “didn’t expect his party invitation to ‘blow up’ as the video only had ’40 views’ at first.”
This video which had less than 100 views after it was posted began going viral causing everyone to make videos expressing their interest in the get-together. The hashtag #adrianskickback has a total of 329.7 million views and many videos under said hashtag have millions of likes.
Along with the initial TikTok which gained the kickback major attention and publicity, a friend of Adrian’s named Yahir Hernandez also made invites on Snapchat, thinking that the Tiktok wouldn’t blow up.
TheGuardian mentioned that “Lopez and Hernandez initially found this attention to be fun, swapping private messages with prominent people. Fun was supplanted by fear, however, as people were making posts about traveling from across the US to attend their event. On Friday night – the day before Lopez’s scheduled “kickback”, about 1,000 people arrived at Huntington Beach.”
The two made a last minute decision to change the location and make tickets available for the kickback, hoping it wouldn’t get out of hand. They worked with a store in the area called Cookies N’ Kicks which would sell the tickets for $4o each. Teens made huge lines outside of this store waiting to get their hands on a ticket.
Because of the massive publicity that this party received, Huntington Beach Police were soon notified and made a statement saying “We are actively monitoring multiple social media posts advertising a large gathering on the beach this weekend. The safety & well-being of our residents, visitors, businesses & motorists is paramount, which is why the HBPD is taking significant steps to prepare for the potential influx of visitors, including working closely with our regional public safety partners. Toward that end, the HBPD will also be strictly enforcing all applicable laws & ordinances throughout the weekend.”
The unique aspect of this party was that none of the guests knew each other, nor did they even know who Adrian was. Some teens explained that they didn’t even know what he looked like before attending the party.
The kickback quickly escalated as more and more people began arriving at the beach. After a while the party moved from the beach to streets and local businesses. LA times stated that “Business owners, store clerks and residents of Huntington Beach described a raucous scene with thousands of revelers — most of them in their teens or early 20s — crossing from the beach onto Pacific Coast Highway and clashing with police in the city’s downtown business district.”
In the blink of an eye, around 2,500 teens showed up to the party, taking over the streets of Huntington Beach. What was supposed to be a little “kickback” turned into a full on riot with “illegal fireworks, mosh pit and multiple arrests.”
“It’s not clear why the gathering descended into anti-police violence and chaos: There wasn’t an organized protest effort, for instance. It seems to have been just a large group of teens that got out of control,” according to DailyMail.
The party got more intense the later it got. The guests went rogue in the streets as “some partiers ascended a stop light, others, a flagpole. Some attendees lit fireworks and sprinted through nearby traffic.” Along with that, “Violence ensued when local law enforcement tried to disperse the crowd. Someone broke the windshield of a police car, others tossed bottles at police.” Thankfully, “No significant injuries were reported, but multiple businesses and police vehicles were vandalized, along with a lifeguard tower, police said.”
Because the crowds got crazier when police arrived, many ended up at the station that night. LA Times stated that “The bulk of the arrests — about 150 — came after the police issued a dispersal order late Saturday.”
After the party guests nor social media users heard anything from Adrian, who actually never showed up to the kickback, he finally made a statement to Instagram. He stated “I did not start or encourage any illegal activity! Safety is and has always been my number one concern for both myself and others. I have not made any money related to Adrian’s kickback what so ever but my management team will be addressing this.”
The aftermath of this event made the whole area pay for the partiers’ mistakes. The streets and businesses near the party were vandalized and destroyed, leaving the owners and people of the city to clean up the mess.
Gofundmes were started to support the business owners, as well as a city clean up that following Sunday in which many people came out to sweep the streets and remove graffiti.
Apparently though, this wasn’t the end to the kickback because on Sunday night “a smaller crowd of about 150 turned out, and Huntington Beach police again issued an unlawful assembly order late at night. Twenty-nine more people were arrested, including 13 juveniles, according to police.”
The police still haven’t spoken with Adrian since he didn’t show up to the kickback at all. “Concerned about the growing size of what he said was supposed to be a small party for friends, he moved it to Los Angeles, Adrian told the New York Times. He said he deleted his mentions of the Huntington Beach event, but it was too late to dissuade the crowd from attending.”
Adrian never intended for his party to get this big, and was scared of the consequences that he would receive because of it. According to the LA Times, Adrian stated “I’m nervous. My parents don’t know and they’re going to find out, So, Mom and Dad, I’m sorry but I don’t know what to do.”
No one would’ve ever suspected that a random party invitation that was solely meant for school peers would’ve gone viral, causing many famous Tiktokers and celebrities such as Skaii Jackson to make jokes saying they were attending. Many guests even traveled from other parts of the country to witness this massive riot go down. This event will definitely be an insane story for Adrian and all of the partiers to tell one day.