Alterna Comics founder Peter Simeti asks for calm after being Swatted on livestream
During a YouTube livestream on Wednesday night (now set to private), Alterna Comics founder Peter Simeti’s home was raided by police. According to Simeti, someone impersonating him called the police, gave them Simeti’s address, and claimed to have “stabbed my girlfriend and that I was suicidal.”
Nobody was physically harmed, and Simeti noted that the police realized very quickly that the call was a hoax. Simeti has indicated that he intends to cooperate with authorities as they investigate the matter.
This type of hoax is known as “Swatting”, and is typically used as either a harassment tool or a harsh prank. However, Swatting has resulted in some very serious consequences, including injury or death. And for those responsible? In addition to violating local laws, Swatting is also a federal crime. Simply engaging in this kind of hoax can get you 5 years in prison, and if someone gets hurt, you could be looking at 20 years to life.
Over the past six months, Simeti has drawn the ire of several detractors due to Alterna’s customer service-centric social media policy, but Simeti cautioned against making snap judgements regarding who is responsible.
Simeti has long been a proponent of returning comic books to newsstands and other mass-market outlets as a hook to draw new readers into the industry. In May 2017, Alterna introduced comics printed on newsprint “pulp” paper as a way to cut printing costs and pass those savings on to customers. Since then, Alterna has become one of the few success stories to come out of the comic book industry in recent years, built on the back of books that regularly cost between just $1 and $2.
All the best to Peter Simeti and to the law enforcement officers as they investigate this matter.