Alterna Comics Publisher SWATted During Livestream

Alterna Comics Peter Simeti was the victim of a SWATting attack during his livestream on YouTube Tuesday evening.

Simeti, who has been the target of harassment in the past, was about thirty minutes into his “State of Alterna” stream when the police arrived in response to what has been described as a 911 call reporting a knife attack on his girlfriend.

“SWATting” is the term used to describe a situation that arises when police are given a false report to provoke a SWAT team response to a victim’s residence or business, creating a situation where the target of the swatting is in danger of being injured or killed. This has happened at least once, in January 2018 when Tyler Barriss was arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly SWATting Andrew Finch, who was fatally shot by police after he opened the front door when the police responded to Barriss’ false report of a domestic shooting and hostage situation.

Last year, Simeti became the target of hostility as a result of his company’s social media policy, which recommends that creators “not use block bots/blind blocking/block chains or any other kind of program or practice that is used to block thousands of people, blindly en masse”. Critics of the policy took to social media to call Alterna “Alt-Right Comics” and to accuse Simeti of being in league with the Comicsgate movement.

There were sixty-four viewers watching the stream live when the incident occurred. According to YouTube user Death Belle, “It was pretty scary, I was in the chat. Cops sounded intense at the beginning. Mellowed out quickly though which is good.” 

The owner of 1st Print Comics, David Inguagiato, was on the stream with Simeti when the police arrived.

We reached out to both Simeti and Inguagiato, and so far have not heard back, although Inguagiato has spoken with Bounding Into Comics, telling them, “So we were just talking on the live stream when Peter heard banging. He excused himself and got up to answer the door. From what I heard it sounded like two police officers entering the apartment. They asked where his girlfriend was and to show his hands. Peter was clearly shocked by this. The police asked who he was and he responded. After a little bit of that the officers figured out that the call was bogus.”

After a meeting with law enforcement officials, Simeti sent out this update:

The live video has since been made private, as it could now be included as evidence in the investigation. On Friday, Simeti posted this update on the situation:

We will update as more information becomes available.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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