The internet giveth, and the internet taketh away. That’s the lesson I learned from the viral Cinnamon Toast Crunch shrimp fiasco (and not, as one might expect, to stop buying General Mills cereal). In a story with more twists and turns than the swirls on the offending cinnamon squares, the latest development—and I’m going to need you to hold all expressions of shock until the end—is that the guy who gained a good 24 hours of mild internet fame from exposing General Mills’ alleged f*ck-up might have made it up, and might not be a good person. And you thought the biggest surprise was that this guy is married to Topanga!
What began as a (pretty much literally) wild tale of some guy who inexplicably found disembodied shrimp tails in his box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and then proceeded to deal with a subpar customer service interaction from the giant corporation who made the cereal has now become a whodunit, with the new prime suspect being Karp himself. If you’re asking, why would he make this up? The prevailing theory seems to be: for internet fame. I mean, I guess maybe he could get a Cinnamon Toast Crunch #sponcon deal from this, but what’s really the end game?
As a fun aside (that very well may be related to this whole saga; I just can’t figure out how yet), Karp’s own wife, the one Topanga, once did an ad for Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavored Coffeemate in March 2020.
You guys, @coffeemate has a new flavor based on my #1 cereal! I ALWAYS have a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch at home. It’s one of the best things to come out of the 90’s. 😉 Get it now at grocery stores nationwide, & trust me, you’re going to love it! #sponsored #CoffeesPerfectMate pic.twitter.com/gna4oe8auG
— Danielle Fishel Karp (@daniellefishel) March 5, 2020
Fishel clarified in a follow-up tweet that she was “never sponsored by CTC”, explaining, “That was an ad for Coffeemate when they did a collab with CTC.” She added, “We were BIG FANS until we found shrimp tails yesterday.” Adding this piece of evidence to my Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shrimp string board.
But the real milkshake duck of it all began when artist Brandon Bird tweeted, “Just fyi, the shrimp tails guy is both a marketing professional and someone who’s lied to my face without flinching.” He clarified his position in a follow-up tweet, “If he told me he found cereal in his cereal box, I wouldn’t take his word.”
From there, ex-partners of Karp started tweeting about their experiences dating him. One called him “a manipulative gaslighting narcissistic ex-boyfriend” and alleged he once said “he was surprised I hadn’t killed myself because my life was so worthless”. Another woman described him as “the most abusive person I have ever been with”. Former colleagues accused him of lying, stealing ideas, and contributing to an insensitive and toxic work environment.
Karp, who, when the shrimp tale first went viral, was tweeting updates multiple times per day—everything from retweeting jokes about the situation to informing followers he was taking the offending cereal box to a lab for testing—has remained silent since the emotional abuse allegations came to light.
I and my tinfoil hat will be following developments closely, because while we don’t have definitive answers (or the results of this supposed lab test), we do know that this story is—wait for it, and I’m sorry to say this but somebody has to—fishy.
So before you go exaggerating, outright fabricating, or simply leveraging a personal anecdote for internet fame, perhaps consider the skeletons in your closet. It’s a story we’ve seen play out time and time again: with one viral tweet (or series of viral tweets), man goes from internet darling to ousted toxic piece of sh*t in about 24 hours or less. Take Bean Dad, who posted a 23-tweet series about how he made his daughter stare at a can opener for six hours rather than teaching her how to use it to open a can of beans, only to have his racist tweets exposed. Or Zoom Cat Lawyer, who was accused of leading a targeted harassment campaign, culminating in a raid, of a woman with whom he’d allegedly had a sexual relationship. Then again, if these guys did weigh the price of fleeting Twitter fame against their reputations before hitting “send”, then we would not get to witness these beautiful pieces of perfect internet theater play out.
If reading this story has got you wondering, “what happened to [insert random guy who went viral for something seemingly innocuous]?” the answer is probably something along the lines of, “he was quickly exposed for being a dirtbag.”
Images: Luke Jones / Unsplash