Members of the pro-Gamergate community 8chan tried to get a SWAT team dispatched to the home of Grace Lynn, a former member of the Gamergate movement, as retribution for leaving. But Gamergaters gave police the wrong address.
Portland police dispatched 20 patrol officers, not a SWAT team, to the address given to them during a call about an armed hostage situation. While the police were drawing up a plan to contact residents in the neighborhood, Portland Central Precinct received a call that the situation was probably a hoax.
Swatting is the act of calling police with a fake report of a situation severe enough to warrant a raid by a SWAT team. Bomb threats and hostage situations are two of the common methods used by “swatters” to try and execute the prank. Swatting was popularized as a tool used by online gamers against other online gamers, often to watch the prank take place live over a streaming service like Twitch.
In this case, the attempted swatting was just another instance of the harassment Grace Lynn has been facing since she abandoned the Gamergate movement. Lynn, a pixel artist, songwriter, and game designer, withdrew her support for the movement when Lynn saw it as a hate campaign, and not a call for better ethics in video game journalism.
Even before she was contacted by Portland police, Lynn was aware that a swatting attempt against her was going to take place. The online harassment of Lynn is so bad that she monitors the Web to try and preemptively prepare for it. That’s how she discovered the plan to launch a swatting attempt against her, as discussed in a thread on 8chan which has since been removed from the board.
H/T Ars Technica | Photo via WEBN-TV/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)