Breaking Down the Debacle Between Jensen Karp, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Those Alleged Shrimp Tails

Podcaster Jensen Karp wants to "wash my mouth out with acid" after he allegedly found some black bits and shrimp tails in his bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Here's what going on with the viral moment.

By Lindsay Weinberg Mar 23, 2021 11:42 PMTags
Watch: Cinnamon Toast Crunch: Are Those Really Shrimp Tails?

Twitter users are eating up the story of how Jensen Karp unexpectedly found something fishy inside his bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

The Los Angeles-based podcaster, whose wife is Boy Meets World actress Danielle Fishel, claimed he found two sugar-coated shrimp tails in his bag of cereal and has been sharing his disturbing experience with fans on Twitter.  

On Monday, March 22, Jensen posted a pic of what he alleges are pieces of shrimp that he found inside the Cinnamon Toast Crunch he bought at the Woodland Hills Costco in California. 

Jensen tagged the brand and wrote, "Ummmm @CTCSquares - why are there shrimp tails in my cereal?" To prove he was serious, he added, "This is not a bit." Jensen wrote, "I'm looping in @GeneralMills because I'm genuinely nervous I will never eat (or sleep) again without answers."

The Cinnamon Toast Crunch account responded to say, "We're sorry to see what you found! We would like to report this to our quality team," and also offered to replace his box with a new one. Jensen responded, "GUYS - I am not sure I'm ready for another box!!!" 

Danielle Fishel's Boy Meets World Memories

At this point in the shrimp tail tale, Seth Rogen entered the chat. The comedian wrote, "You win!" To which Jensen replied, "Seth - define 'win.'" Touché. 

Later in the day, the brand announced, "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. We assure you that there's no possibility of cross contamination with shrimp." 

However, Jensen did not seem pleased. He posted two more close-up images of his fishy friends and said, "after further investigation with my eyes, these are cinnamon coated SHRIMP TAILS, you weirdos. I wasn't all that mad until you now tried to gaslight me?" The post has gained more than 100,000 likes. 

The Talk Ain't Cheap podcast host mused to his followers, "Imagine a universe where I'm like, 'Yuck. These are shrimp tails.' Then I re-examine them a few hours later and realize, 'Nope. These are just accumulations of sugar.'"

He posted alleged, unverified screenshots of his conversation with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which offered to send a pre-paid envelope to mail the findings so the cereal company can "take a closer look." 

Jensen explained his thoughts: "Okay. So they want me to send them the shrimp tails for a 'closer look.' These are obviously shrimp tails, so I will be keeping one as evidence, as I now feel like Sandra Bullock in The Net." He added, "Should I take MY shrimp tail to a lab? I'm all-in."

The saga continued when he was convinced to go back through the bag to look for any other mysterious items. "When I first noticed the shrimp tails, I freaked out and closed the box," he wrote. The next image of his so-called findings also included what looked like a white string and pieces of cereal with "black marks" on them.

"I ate a bowl before noticing all this," he noted. "Is it shrimp adjacent?"

Fans eventually speculated the black bits looked like potential rat droppings, prompting Jensen to say, "It makes me want wash my mouth out with acid." Seth gave his take, noting, "I'd cut my mouth off if I were you." 

The This is the End actor also joked, "Yo that's shrimp CT CRUNCH!" and "CALL A F--KING EXORCIST."

It was time for a crustaceans expert to weigh in. Adam Wall, who is the Collections Manager of Crustacea at The  Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County according to its website, wrote that "those do look a bit like a shrimp's telson & uropods—tail. I would totally love to look at your 'specimen' under a microscope, we might even be able to extract DNA to confirm its species or if it's indeed cinnamon sugar." 

Jensen's enthusiastic response? "LET'S GET REAL NANCY DREW ABOUT THIS S--T."

He gave yet another update on the bag of cereal later on, thanks to the bravery of his wife, Danielle, who fans best know from Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World. According to Jensen, "my wife has a stronger stomach than me and checked the OTHER bag in the family pack." The second bag appeared to be taped up and seemed, from his perspective, to include "dental floss."

Jillian McQuerrey

That brings us to Tuesday, March 23, when Jensen really noticed how viral his experience had become. "I'm the new Gorilla Glue Girl, aren't I?" he asked, referring to Louisiana woman Tessica Brown who put Gorilla Spray Adhesive on her hair in January. 

Jensen then buckled up his box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch into his car, writing, "We're going to a lab." He later said a research company is paying to DNA test the so-called shrimp, adding, "I am now in touch with a testing lab re: the 'black things,' which I will not yet be calling by any other name for my own sanity."

The writer tweeted that he wanted to clarify he has "NO idea" how any items got into his cereal bags, claiming it could have been contaminated at Costco, though he doesn't believe that sufficiently explains the alleged black bits and shrimp.

"My point is - their initial reaction to shellfish being in the bag was to tell me it was sugar. Not to investigate the issue or look into it. It's a deadly allergy to many (and non-Kosher) and that didn't seem to matter beyond offering me a new box," he noted. 

Joe Scarnici/WireImage

Cinnamon Toast Crunch addressed the incident on Twitter by releasing a statement on March 23. It read, "While we are still investigating this matter, we can say with confidence that this did not occur at our facility. We are waiting for the consumer to send us the package to investigate further."

The brand encouraged "Any consumers who notice their cereal box or bag has been tampered with, such as the clear tape that was found in this case" to contact them at 1-800-328-1144.

As the company and Jensen move forward with their investigations, his breakfast has been blowing up online. One user said, "this is the story I'm invested in today" and another said, "This cinnamon toast shrimp saga is giving me life right now." 

It also inspired plenty of jokes among fans wanting to fish in troubled waters. When Bones actor John Francis Daley wrote, "This is wild," another person responded, "Could be farm-raised actually."

Another fan made a Forrest Gump reference by writing, "There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, Cinnamon Toast Crunch shrimp..." 

Actress Allie Mac Kay joked, "Cereal? More like seareal. Amirite? (But seriously, this is f--king gross)."

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