Bugha latest to be swatted in a practice that has tainted gaming entertainment

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images /

Fortnite streamer Bugha was targeted in a swatting incident on Saturday night, another incident in a long and complicated history of hoax calls in the gaming world.

It was a typical day and a standard stream for Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, the 16-year-old Fortnite world champion who won $3 million after taking home the championship in New York last month. Everything was fine until his dad told him there were armed police officers at his door, responding to an anonymous call of a major threat at the Giersdorf household. The situation was quickly dissolved, and everyone was perfectly ok, but things can go south very quickly in a swatting situation. Bugha and his family were victims of “Swatting.”

A clip of the stream where Bugha’s father calls into his room to tell him armed officers are at the door can be seen from his twitch account.

“Swatting” is the term used for fake threats called into local law enforcement to notify them of an intense situation at a household. Perpetrators find the address to someone’s house and make the call as a way of sending a message or trying to shake up the resident. Swatting has become an issue in the gaming world, with people calling into popular streamers’ houses with stories of bomb threats, murders, or hostage situations that prompt a full-on military-esque entrance to a home.

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Swatting is inherently dangerous. In a lot of scenarios, the situation is immediately deemed fake, but no one in the situation besides the hoax caller knows that there is no threat until they arrive. This leads to a lot of anxiety, and ultimately, a trigger happy officer has no way to know the guy standing in the doorway hasn’t killed someone.

Andrew Finch, 28 of Wichita, Kansas was killed in his home after another person called in a fake shooting and kidnapping after a dispute over a Call of Duty match. Police entered Finch’s home and fatally shot him after seeing him “lower his hand to his waist.” The officer who killed Finch faced no charges. 

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Every situation called in like that becomes life or death. Police have to fear a situation that often goes far beyond the means of their day-to-day procedures. Calling in the threat on Bugha, a 16-year-old kid with a large profile and newfound success, is–just like any swatting incident–sick, twisted and malicious. Just like every situation, Bugha’s family, or an officer could be hurt in a situation that doesn’t need to happen.

The history of swatting goes far into history. The term was recently coined in the internet age, yet fake bomb threats have been on the radar of the FBI and the government since the ‘70s. They have been called in to cause mass panic or even just close school for a day.

Examples like Bugha’s have happened all over the world and to loads of people. Prank calls into local law enforcement have stirred up controversy in the national media, and have even taken lives. People who choose to swat know very well the potential consequences of their actions, when it comes down to it, it is attempted murder.

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Streamers and personalities are constantly under attack, but so is anyone playing a game. Bugha’s case is another stamp in a long line of gross and deadly “pranks” that have poisoned the gaming world.