A famous “Grand Theft Auto” actor was swatted during a Thanksgiving livestream.
Ned Luke, the voice actor of main character Michael De Santa in “GTA 5,” was swatted during a YouTube livestream of himself playing the violent video game for fans on Nov. 23. The actor took a phone call apparently warning him before he abruptly ended his stream.
“I gotta go,” Luke, who has over 60,000 YouTube subscribers, said during the livestream. “Now these a–holes have swatted my house, so I gotta go.”
Swatting — when someone makes a false 911 report eliciting a hefty and aggressive police response — has become more common over the last decade as it becomes easier for callers to conceal identities with masked voices and spoofed phone numbers or IP addresses. The FBI created a nationwide database this year due to the apparent rise in hoax calls, recording over 200 swatting incidents between May 1 and Sept. 21, according to the FBI.
“The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” a FBI spokeperson told Fox News in September. “We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”
The hoax calls were not officially tracked before the database’s inception, but a former FBI agent, Kevin Kolbye, estimated swatting incidents jumped from 400 in 2011 to over 1,000 in 2019, according to a Anti-Defamation League report.
Hours after the swatting incident, Luke responded on X to accusations that Rockstar Games, “GTA’s” publisher, didn’t mask the IP addresses of its players.
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“Y’all jumping to some large a– conclusions,” Luke replied to one user. “This had nothing to do with Rockstar.”
“These a–holes leaked my private info years ago and have been doing this s– since,” Luke continued. “Anyone’s info is available online if you are sick enuff to really wanna find it.”
Darren Watkins Jr., a YouTube star with nearly 22 million subscribers known as “IShowSpeed,” was also swatted while livestreaming on Monday. He stepped away from his computer to go downstairs, warning viewers about his safety before going off camera. Viewers could see three armed police officers walking through his home afterward.
“I just got swatted. I wish I knew whoever did that,” Watkins said on Snapchat after the incident. “That’s f—ed up. Don’t ever do that again in your life, bro.”
Some of the hoax threats have even turned deadly. A false report leading to an armed police response, for example, led a cop to shoot and kill a Kansas man in 2017.
“I could have really died,” Watkins said. “I had guns to my face. Don’t ever do that again.”
Click here for more about the dangers of swatting.