The alleged shellfish discovery, which kickstarted a viral Twitter saga in the vein of Gorilla Glue Girl and Bean Dad, was made on Monday by Jensen Karp, a podcast host and husband of Boy Meets World star Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga Lawrence on the seminal sitcom. Initially, Karp tweeted out what appears to be a photo of two sugar-coated shrimp tails mixed in with the brand’s signature cereal squares. This prompted the official Cinnamon Toast Crunch Twitter account to offer to send a replacement box—a response that didn’t seem to satisfy Karp.
That’s when things truly took a turn for the bizarre.
Following an alleged direct message exchange, Cinnamon Toast Crunch popped back up to insist that, actually, what Karp had found were just clumps of cinnamon sugar: “After further investigation with our team that closely examined the image, it appears to be an accumulation of the cinnamon sugar that sometimes can occur when ingredients aren’t thoroughly blended,” the cereal account tweeted. “We assure you that there’s no possibility of cross contamination with shrimp.”
The only issue with that response, for Karp, was that they clearly appeared to be shrimp tails. “Ok, well after further investigation with my eyes, these are cinnamon coated SHRIMP TAILS, you weirdos,” Karp tweeted in response, earning over 154,000 likes as of Wednesday morning. “I wasn’t all that mad until you now tried to gaslight me?”
Twitter users took it from there, breathing life into the budding controversy by firing off jokes and proposing theories as to what might have caused the alleged shrimp fiasco.
As Karp made a more thorough inspection of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch bag, he claimed he also found a piece of string, cereal squares with mystery black bits baked into them and some more shrimp detritus. This led some to suggest the whole incident was the result of rats having made a home in some of General Mills’ dry ingredients. Karp noted that still didn’t explain why the other bag of cereal in the family pack appeared to be taped shut.
“While we are still investigating this matter, we can say with confidence that this did not occur at our facility,” Mike Siemienas, a spokesperson for General Mills, said in a statement to TIME. “We are waiting for the consumer to send us the package to investigate further. Any consumers who notice their cereal box or bag has been tampered with, such as the clear tape that was found in this case, should contact us.”
Karp declined to send General Mills his findings due to the company’s sugar clumps claim, and says he is having the shrimp species identified by a crustacean researcher. He also claims to have taken some of the black-marked cereal pieces to a lab for further examination.
“I’m a comedy writer, but like, there’s no joke here,” he told the New York Times. “To take down my favorite cereal brand? I don’t even know why that’s a funny joke. I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s the only cereal I eat.”
Only time will tell how this saga of shrimp, cereal and Boy Meets World will come to an end. But some are already using it for actual culinary inspiration.
As this story continued to gather steam on Wednesday, a number of Twitter users shared posts accusing Karp of abuse or mistreatment. In one tweet that has been liked over 14 thousand times as of Wednesday afternoon, writer Melissa Stetten, who identified herself as a past romantic partner of Karp, alleged that he had emotionally and verbally abused her during their relationship.
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Write to Megan McCluskey at firstname.lastname@example.org