Twitch streamer Alexandra “Alliestrasza” Macpherson, a prominent Hearthstone player and a member of esports organization Fade 2 Karma, was arrested on February 9. But it wasn’t her fault. She was swatted while playing the collectible card game live on stream, with police showing up fully strapped and ready to take down whatever threat was lurking in her home.
First spotted by PC Gamer, Alliestrasza was about an hour into a livestream before everything happened. The full broadcast is not on her Twitch page, but there are clips showing the police raiding her house. In one 50-second clip, three police officers walked into Alliestrasza’s room. One officer had a pistol, another was holding what looked like a shotgun, while a third had a riot shield at the ready. They pointed their weapons at the camera and checked the perimeter, including behind the door, before backing out and standing in the stairway, which was captured in a second clip. They eventually left the room and staircase altogether. Alliestrasza wasn’t in the room at the time, butut in a separate video, after the stream had been running for some 25 minutes, Alliestrasza returned to tell her chat she was being swatted.
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She then shut the stream down, telling everyone that everything’s fine. Alliestrasza later explained on Twitter that her whole family had been handcuffed.
“Everything is okay, though,” Alliestrasza tweeted. “Just a little shaken up with nerves. The officers were great and handled everything very well.”
Alliestrasza also detailed exactly what the fake danger was that led to her being swatted while live on stream. Apparently, someone had called U.S. police making the bogus claim that a woman shot her husband, locked herself in the bathroom, and threatened to shoot whoever entered. Though nothing of the sort occurred in Alliestrasza’s home, police still arrested her and her family to assess the threat’s veracity.
Kotaku has reached out to Alliestrasza for comment.
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Swatting isn’t a new thing for Twitch streamers. The practice, in which someone else calls the police on a streamer while they are broadcasting live, has previously proven lethal. It’s also a waste of funding and resources, with police appearing ready to risk their lives, or endanger the lives of the innocent, for a troll’s prank. Still, streamers are at constant threat of being swatted. Sometimes, these lead to peaceful resolutions, like Alliestrasza’s. Other times, the practice results in deadly use of force, which was the case in 2018 when an argument over Call of Duty World War II ended with police shooting an innocent father dead.
Police are aware of these duping tactics, with some departments—like Seattle—instating anti-swatting programs. Hopefully, other police organizations follow suit and help put an end to this shitty practice.