Last weekend, Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf was swatted while streaming the battle royale game live on Twitch. The teenager was playing with two other pros, Timothy ‘Bizzle’ Miller and Danny ‘Dubs’ Walsh.
Swatting involves finding out where someone lives, and then calling a local police department with some kind of vague but violent threat. The hope on the part of the perpetrator is that SWAT teams will respond and storm the residence. As anyone with a brain can understand, this is incredibly dangerous and stupid.
Swatting and doxxing are absolutely out of bounds, especially when it comes to video games. People have already been killed over this nonsense. It makes the whole thing even worse given that America has, in general, an extremely militarized police force which kills hundreds every year, and that’s a conservative estimate.
28 year old father of two Andrew Finch was killed by police after Tyler Barriss tried to swat another player on Call of Duty: WW2. Barriss was jailed for 20 years over the attack. So yes, it’s a dangerous stunt and the people doing it should be ashamed.
The event happened during the final moments of a match, where the three players were rather close to securing full victory. Bugha’s father attempted to get his attention during the stream. Though seemingly not understanding what was happening, the teenager brushed it off saying, “Dad, I actually can’t.” A few moments later, the teenager realised the gravity of the situation — “I got swatted?” — and turned off his stream to try and deal with the situation. Thankfully, no one was injured and the incident ended peacefully. Apparently, police were already aware of Bugha and his online personality, and suspected that the call might have been false, so they opted for a careful approach rather than full SWAT response.
The streamer’s response was that he was “lucky”, and then added in a tweet that the experience was “kinda wild.”
And even though this incident ended without harm, the next victim might not be so lucky. So, and I cannot believe I have to say this, but if you’re a streamer or other online content creator, it may be worth while to advise local police in your area about your presence, as well as the threat of swatting.