Clara Sorrenti said she woke up on August 5 to a police officer pointing a gun at her.
She said in a YouTube video she had been the victim of swatting.
A troll impersonating her emailed the city council saying she was going to kill people.
Clara Sorrenti, a popular Twitch streamer who is known as "Keffals" on the platform, said on August 5 she woke up to see a police officer pointing a gun at her. Describing what happened in a YouTube video on August 9, Sorrenti claimed someone sent an email impersonating her to everyone in the city council of London, Ontario, stating that she had an illegal firearm, had killed her mother, and was planning on shooting every cisgender person at City Hall.
In her video, titled "My life is in danger. I need your help." Sorrenti said the police had taken the emails seriously, which led to them arresting her and seizing her electronic devices. This tactic has become known as "swatting" — when a viewer will call or email law enforcement with a made-up threat at a streamer's address, such as saying they are selling drugs, have a gun, or have hurt their family, so that armed police show up.
Sorrenti plays games such as Minecraft on Twitch in front of her audience of over 40,000 people, while commentating on news and politics. She is also a transgender woman who has used the platform to speak out against the growing anti-LGBTQ movement in the United States, and said in her video that she believes part of the motive behind her being swatted was transphobia. The email sent by the troll included her dead name — the name trans people are assigned at birth and often change — which the police then used when arresting her.
This was a "obvious attempt to make the police humiliate me," Sorrenti said in her video.
London police confirmed to Insider that they were contacted by London City Hall on August 5, "indicating that several individuals had received a letter threatening potential violence against individuals within City Hall later that same day."
They said Sorrenti was "later released without charges pending analysis of electronic devices seized." In her video, Sorrenti said police took away her work computer, and work and personal cellphones, as well as her fiance's work computer and personal cellphone. Police said the investigation is ongoing, and "as this is an active investigation, we are unable to provide any further details at this time."
"It's kind of a terrifying thought that anyone can just take your name on an anonymous email, upload any picture of a gun, and a SWAT team will be sent to your house and you'll have to stare down an assault rifle," Sorrenti told Global News in an interview.
Sorrenti also said in the interview with Global News that she and her family have been targeted for several months, and had their personal information leaked online—a form of harassment known as doxxing.
Online harassment has threatened livestreamers for a long time. Swatting has become more and more common in the past few years, and often has links to the far-right and misogynist online communities. One instance of swatting led to the fatal police shooting of a Wichita, Kansas man after a fake threat called into authorities brought officers to his home.
Swatting can also happen for no discernible reason. In June, for example, Twitch streamer Nick Frags was making tacos when armed police showed up to his house after an anonymous report he had killed his family.
"I don't understand what people get out of that," he told Insider at the time. "I guess there's some people that just aren't wired like the rest of us."
Insider has reached out to Sorrenti for further comment.
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