Trolls Sent Armed Cops To The ‘Fortnite’ World Cup Winner’s Home For No Reason
Last month, 16-year-old Kyle ‘Bugha’ Gierdorf won US$3 million at the first Fortnite World Cup in New York. This week, armed police showed up at his door.
Fortnite, a hugely popular Darwinism simulator, is also a hugely popular spectator sport. The battle royale is one of the most-watched video games on streaming platform Twitch, with some players able to attract thousands of viewers to watch them build things, shoot things and do the floss.
One of these players is Kyle ‘Bugha’ Gierdorf, the recently crowned Fortnite World Cup champion. In between playing for esports organisation Sentinels and spending US$3 million prize, Gierdorf also streams Fortnite on his Twitch channel, which was exactly what he was doing Saturday night local time.
He and fellow esports players Timothy ‘Bizzle’ Miller and Danny ‘Dubs’ Walsh were engaged in a Trios match, wherein players compete in teams of three. All was going well, until Gierdorf’s dad came and told him that the police were there.
Though at first Gierdorf dismissed his dad, he could then be heard saying, “I got swatted?” He then got up from his computer, leaving his Fortnite character to stand idle.
Swatting is the extremely dangerous practice of making a false report of current or imminent violence to the police, causing them to show up at a location armed and prepared for a confrontation. It’s disappointingly not unheard of for disgruntled gamers to call the police on rivals or streamers.
Not only does swatting waste the resources of emergency services, it can and has resulted in serious injury and death. In 2017, 28-year-old Andrew Finch was shot and killed by Kansas police after his address was given to the police in a swatting attempt. The swatting originated from a dispute over Call of Duty, which Finch was not even involved in.
Caught up in Fortnite‘s frantic pace, Miller and Walsh didn’t register what Gierdorf had said, leaving them to wonder why he appeared to have abandoned them in the middle of a game.
Gierdorf returned around 10 minutes later and was able to explain to his teammates what happened. Fortunately, one of the officers knew him, so they were able to clear up the situation and Gierdorf could resume playing. His team also won the match despite his absence.
Gierdorf and his family are safe, but he was well aware the incident could just as easily have ended in tragedy. “What if I just got bopped? Jesus Christ, the internet’s fucking crazy.”
Here’s hoping the police track the swatter down.