The newest member of rainbow clubhouse JoJo Siwa publicly came out on Friday by tweeting a picture of herself in a “Best gay cousin ever,” t-shirt and later confirming that she was part of the LGBTQIA+ community on Instagram. While the news was met with positivity from fans and the community more broadly, it appears that bad actors are using the reality TV star’s spotlight for their own means.
On Sunday, the star confirmed that she was the target of a rather unfortunate form of harassment called “swatting.” Swatting is a colloquial term used to describe the act of falsely reporting an emergency to law enforcement. The result is often police officers or even a S.W.A.T. team showing up and demanding members of a household evacuate the home.
JoJo Siwa took to her videographer’s Instagram to describe how she was ‘swatted’ over the weekend.
BuzzFeed reported that her videographer posted the following information on their Instagram. In the above Instagram post, go to the third slide and you will find a video of Siwa after the swatting incident with her family surrounded by police outside of their LA home.
The video began circling around the internet causing fans to wonder what had befallen the rising star.
“Basically, there’s this thing called ‘swatting,'” Siwa explained. “We’re at our house, and all of a sudden, there was a whole bunch of police telling us to come outside the house.”
“We went outside, hands up, because you have to obviously follow the rules, and then the police were saying that somebody had called and made a claim,” she continued.
“And then, all of a sudden, paparazzi came from around the corner,” Siwa revealed. “It’s called ‘swatting,’ where the media will actually call the police, so that way you have to come outside your house.”
“I think because I recently came out to the internet, the media is obviously very excited, which I love, and I love the support,” she admitted. “However, you could’ve just hung outside my house and I would’ve eventually come outside my house.”
“I feel bad because there was about 50 police at our house, and those police could’ve had a much better time spent somewhere else actually helping somebody, instead of dealing with a fake claim from paparazzi,” the star opined.
We must admit we agree with the “Hold the Drama” singer.
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Swatting is not new. People have been calling in fake bomb threats and other hoaxes for a long time, a practice that intensified in the 1970s and continues today. In 2008, the FBI began using the term “swatting” to describe the S.W.A.T. teams that would respond to these sorts of calls.
Swatting incidents have intensified in recent years and even lead to death. The practice was adopted by those in the gaming community to prank or even disrupt other players’ gameplay. In 2017, Wichita police shot and killed an innocent man in his home after they received a call saying that the deceased had placed a bomb inside a preschool. An investigation revealed that the incident was precipitated by a fellow Call of Duty player who plead guilty to felony charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to prison for 15 months as well as a two-year ban on playing video games.
It is not the only deadly example of swatting and the increase in cases lead to legislative action in recent years to toughen prosecution, including making swatting a federal crime with increased penalties.
We are very happy that JoJo Siwa and her family were unharmed and instead mildly annoyed. We hope the episode does not happen again. No one can take this young star’s rainbow shine!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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