It’s been quite the weekend for 17-year-old YouTube megastar JoJo Siwa.
After first hinting and then explicitly coming out as gay in several social media posts — a courageous act carrying enormous cultural import given her young following as a Nickelodeon icon — Siwa was reportedly swatted at her Los Angeles home over the weekend.
Swatting refers to a prank call to emergency services about a falsely dire situation, resulting in the arrival of a large number of officers to a particular address. It’s a potentially fatal prank that has been pulled by digital creators in the past, with Call Of Duty gamer Tyler Barriss currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for a swatting prank that resulted in a man’s death at the hands of police.
In a saved live stream clip on her videographer’s Instagram account, per BuzzFeed, Siwa explained that roughly 50 police officers arrived at her house on Sunday, whereupon Siwa and crew exited the residence with their hands up. Police explained that someone had called claiming an unknown dangerous situation at the home, and then, all of a sudden, paparazzi arrived from around the corner and began snapping photos, Siwa said.
“I feel bad because there was about 50 police at our house, and those police could’ve had a much better time spent somewhere else actually helping somebody, instead of dealing with a fake claim from paparazzi,” Siwa said.
Siwa first began coming out last week, when she shared a TikTok video of herself dancing to Lady Gaga’s gay anthem “Born This Way,” with rainbows on her sweatshirt and in her signature hair bow. She then tweeted on Friday that her cousin had gotten her a shirt reading ‘Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever’. The next day, Siwa took to Instagram to thank fans for their support. In response to questions about how she identifies, Siwa declined to specify, stating that she was a member of the LGBTQ+ community and still discovering herself.
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