Hearthstone streamer Alliestrasza and family cuffed during mid-broadcast swatting

Hearthstone streamer Alliestrazsa.
(Image credit: Alliestrasza)

Alexandra 'Alliestrasza' Macpherson is a Hearthstone streamer from the US, and one of if not the most prominent female faces around the scene. At around an hour into Macpherson's most recent stream, which began 13 hours ago at the time of writing, her home was subject to a police raid. She had been swatted: Where perpetrators phone US police forces with bogus information, hoping to incite an armed response at their victim's location.

The stream is the usual fare until around 1:03, at which point a commotion can be heard in the house and Macpherson leaves the room. Chat speculates about what's going on before, eventually, heavily armed police can be seen moving through the house: At one point, three armed officers enter the room with the streaming setup with weapons aimed and ready to fire.

The stream continues for 25 minutes, until Macpherson returns to the room to close it down, saying:

"I'm gonna turn the stream off now, the very nice officers are in the house. They're gonna take a crime report and take our IDs. Literally got swatted. I'm OK but, yeah... we were all handcuffed and everything. Everything's fine, they're very nice, I'm gonna leave and talk to you guys later, OK."

Macpherson later expanded on the incident on social media. "Well I never thought I would get SWATTED… but alas, here we are. Everything is okay, though. Just a little shaken up with nerves," she writes. "The officers were great and handled everything very well. They obviously had to take the threat seriously so our whole family was cuffed outside.

"After assessing the threat wasn’t real, we talked to them & gave them the context that this happens to twitch streamers sometimes. The amount of resources that were diverted here was insane, tho. WHY do people do this?! Sucks we probably won’t know who did it either."

In response to a query about she and her family being cuffed, Macpherson explained: "The threat was that a woman shot her husband and locked herself in the bathroom, threatening to shoot anyone that came in. They absolutely have to take it as seriously as possible. So they handcuffed us while they assessed the threat."

Swatting is an awful and recurring problem in the US, with streamers often targeted. In 2017 an argument over Call of Duty led to an innocent man being shot dead by police. In 2019 the Fortnite World Cup solo champion, who was then 16 years old, was swatted mid-stream though thankfully, as in this case, no-one was physically hurt.

The disgusting practice is not just localised to gaming, and swatting is at least being taken more seriously by the authorities than it was previously: An anti-swatting bill was passed in Kansas that adds a minimum sentence of ten years, while Seattle maintains a registry of those at-risk of being targeted. Macpherson lives in California, a state where perpetrators bear the full cost of the response—if they're caught. 

We've contacted Macpherson for any additional comment.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."