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Top 10 Dumbest Reasons People Have Rioted

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Script written by Nathan Sharp

Yeah, that’s a sane and mature response. From Szechuan sauce, to disco, to a hot air balloon… yes you read that correctly… these are some of the stupides riots in history. WatchMojo counts down ten dumbest reasons people have rioted.

Special thanks to our user Muppet_Face for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Dumbest+Reasons+People+Have+Actually+Rioted.


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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Dumbest Reasons People Have Rioted

Yeah, that’s a sane and mature response. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dumbest Reasons People Have Rioted.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the dumbest, most ridiculous reasons why crowds of otherwise rational humans lost their minds.

#10: Szechuan Sauce

It’s debatable if these can be considered riots, but we had to include them. October 7, 2017 will forever be the day that fandom culture went a little too far. On this day, McDonald’s planned to bring back their Szechuan sauce due to demand from “Rick and Morty” fans, as the discontinued sauce was the basis of multiple jokes throughout an episode. Throngs of fans showed up at various Mickey D’s to get their hands on the sauce, but supply was limited. Some fans who ended up without a sauce packet ended up chanting and causing scenes, resulting in the police being called to at least one establishment.

#9: Disco


In 1979, the Chicago White Sox had a brilliant plan: hire shock jock Steve Dahl to host their promotional Disco Demolition Night, wherein baseball fans would bring a disco record, and the albums would be literally blown up after the first game of the double-header. The explosion went off as planned, but up to 7,000 people stormed the diamond afterwards and proceeded to rip up the grass, steal the bases, destroy the batting cages, and start a massive bonfire in center field. Riot police were eventually called in to disperse the crowd. Burn, baby, burn.

#8: Rival Actors

People in the 19th century took their plays seriously. By the mid-1800s there were two notable Shakespearean actors working in New York – an American, Edwin Forrest, and a Brit, William Charles Macready. Arguments stemmed over who was the better thespian, and the two actors became proxies for larger issues, including American nationalism and class tensions. Tensions boiled over, and the Astor Place Riot occurred during a Macready performance, when Forrest fans fans pelted the theater with stones. The state militia was called and fired into the crowd, killing over two dozen rioters.

#7: Nylon Stockings


Nylons were first made available in 1940 by American company DuPont, and were an immediate and massive success with women. However, the nylon material was soon needed overseas for the war effort, resulting in a shortage. The riots began after the war, when nylon stockings were reintroduced to the eager American public. Due to high demand and low supply, there was pandemonium in stores as women knocked down shelves and physically attacked each other to get their hands on a pair of nylon stockings. This is the 1940s version of the Szechuan sauce riots, only more violent.

#6: Gingerbread, Beer and Pretzels


The incident known as the Khodynka Tragedy occurred in Moscow on May 30, 1896. An enormous crowd of up to 500,000 people had gathered on Khodynka Field to celebrate the coronation of Nicholas II, but a rumor spread that there wouldn’t be enough free food such as gingerbread, beer and pretzels, The crowd grew incensed, and a police force tried to quell the growing tension to no avail. A stampede began as people tried to flee the field and escape the police, resulting in approximately 1,300 people being trampled to death. People were poor and beer is delicious. But it’s not that delicious.

#5: A Hot Air Balloon

By the 1860s, aeronaut Henry Coxwell was a bit of a celebrity, so it was no surprise when tens of thousands of people turned up to watch Coxwell ride on his balloon, Britannia. Then a rumor spread that Britannia wasn’t as big as expected, and throngs of paying customers charged the basket. Fearing the madness at hand, Coxwell deflated the balloon. But then enraged customers ripped Britannia to pieces, set the basket on fire, and even attempted to attack Coxwell. He was rushed away unharmed, minus some ripped clothing. A writer would later claim that he had “never witnessed such barbarous ignorance.”

#4: Grilled Cheese


In addition to the obvious horrors of incarceration, it’s a well-known fact that prison food is awful, so we can see how prisoners became emotional over the warm deliciousness of a grilled cheese. A massive fight broke out in New York's infamous Rikers Island after the Crips wouldn’t let the Trinitarians gang use a hot plate to cook a grilled cheese. The fight lasted for 45 minutes due to understaffed prison officials, and involved chairs, mop handles, hot water, and sharp instruments, resulting in a dozen injuries. When it was over, more than thirty prisoners received either additional criminal charges or time in solitary confinement for their involvement.

#3: Straw Hats


Back in the 1920s, it was normal for men to wear straw hats in the summer. However, there was an unwritten rule that men stop wearing those hats by September 15. If they didn’t, they were subject to ridicule. Things turned nasty on September 13, two days before the deadline, when a group of hooligans knocked the hats off dock workers and started a fight. The brawl ended up spilling onto Manhattan Bridge and halting traffic. The next day, more violent troublemakers took to the streets with sticks and nails and beat anyone they saw wearing a straw boater; many arrests were made.Talk about some mad hatters.

#2: Nutella


No, the tastiness of Nutella is not just a meme. As it turns out, people feel very strongly about the delicious treat and WILL resort to violence to get their hands on it. In January 2018, a French supermarket chain cut their price of Nutella by 70%. This resulted in throngs of angry citizens crowding the stores and breaking items. The police were called when the crowds turned violent, with customers being punched in the head and receiving wounds bad enough to draw blood. No matter where you go, it often seems as if saving money comes before empathy, simple human decency, and personal safety.

#1: Cabbage Patch Kids


Christmas shopping is always stressful. Christmas shopping in 1983 was Hell on Earth. This was the year of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze, when thousands upon thousands of adults descended on the malls of America to secure their child that season’s hottest toy. However, supply was painfully low, which, as you can imagine, resulted in numerous acts of violence. There were reports of enraged crowds, people hitting each other with baseball bats, lots of trampling, and even fully-grown adults ripping dolls out of kids’ hands. The Cabbage Patch riots of 1983 remain the finest example of consumerist hysteria in America.


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