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Drag Queens on Twitch Are Being Swatted While They Stream

Drag Queens on Twitch Are Being Swatted While They Stream

Elix and swatting

The harassment continues on the videogame streaming service despite increased safety measures.

Elix, a Las Vegas drag queen and prominent Twitch streamer, is the latest victim in a series of "swatting pranks" targeting drag queens on the popular livestreaming service. Elix was streaming on the evening of November 9 when police arrived at her home, banging on her door and demanding she come out with her hands up.

Fortunately for Elix, she was able to speak with the police and it quickly became apparent that the call they'd received was a "prank". In this scenario, someone calls the police with a false report of a dangerous situation, leading officers to arrive at the target home -- something that has proven fatal on multiple occasions.

"I'm shook. I'm gooped. I'm gagged that I -- I wasn't scared. In my head, I'm like, 'My community is waiting for me,'" Elix told NBC News, referring to her livestream audience on Twitch.

While Elix took it in stride, not everyone who's been on the receiving end of one of these incidents felt that way. Drag queens who spoke with NBC News said that the experience has made them feel unsafe, for obvious reasons. NBC withheld their names by request, given the queens' understandable fears that they might become victims of further attacks.

In September, creators on Twitch held a boycott called "A Day Off Twitch" in an effort or raise awareness about how marginalized groups on the service have been targeted with threats, doxxing, bot attacks, and hate raids (a form of harassment in which trolls, using bots, overwhelm a streamer's chat with hateful messages).

This scrutiny has led Twitch to roll out new safety features that allow streamers to have more control over who can participate in their communities.

However, Elix is the sixth member of the Stream Queens -- a group of drag streamers on Twitch -- to have been the target of swatting since then. Stream Queens founder Deere told NBC News that she's saddened by the "continued threats, harassment, and invasions of privacy" both of her collective and of other marginalized groups facing similar treatment. "I hope that through these amazing people persevering in the face of hate, we can inspire people to still be strong and be themselves in spite of anyone trying to stop us or shame us for being genuine and honest," she said.

The continued harassment has forced some queens off the platform entirely. Jupiter Velvet was the victim of swatting in early September and shared with NBC News that it left her with no choice but to leave the platform, as her attorney and police told her there was nothing they could do about the individual who called in the bogus situation.

"For a trans girl like me, my options are somewhat limited," she said, explaining that she had to turn to OnlyFans and sex work to subsidize her income. "I really relied on Twitch, and now I have to figure something else out."

Elix, however, remains resolute in her decision to not be forced off the platform. Immediately following the swatting, she returned to her desk and continued her stream. "I want people to know I'm not going to stop doing what I love," she said. "And I'm not going to stop inspiring people and being who I am."

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