The ongoing harasssment of Keffals has now resulted in the Twitch streamer having her posessions seized and her home raided by police on August 5th. She has launched a crowdfunder in order to move for her safety.
Keffals, also known as Clara Sorrenti, is a streamer and online personality. Trans Writes covered a charity stream she ran previously, in which she raised money for The Campaign for Southern Equality – alongside a really cool guest list of awesome transgender people and some cool cis people too.
In that piece I commented on how Keffals brings with her a fun and punchy energy that helps bring a little fun and lightness into the lives of transgender people. A group who are all too used to bad news right now as the moral panic surrounding us grips more of the media and political classes.
Though sadly this story about Keffals isn’t a fun story of ratioing a transphobe or hanging out with Lilly Wachowski on stream for a good cause. Writing on an alternative Twitter account; Keffals says she has had her posessions seized, including the phone used to access her main Twitter account. This after being woken up with an assault rifle pointed at her by police in Canada.
On August 5th, I was woken up with an assault rifle pointed at me and arrested for a crime I didn't commit. I need your help. Please share this video widelyhttps://t.co/URNsfyrSQc
— Clara Sorrenti (@keffalsbackup) August 9, 2022
This happened due to the harassment campaign targetting Keffals and other outspoken transgender people. Specifically in this instance an email sent by someone pretending to be Keffals was sent to every city councillor in her home province. The email claimed she intended to hurt herself and her family, and was signed using her deadname – a name she hasn’t used for over 10 years.
This is called SWATing. Where one person or group of people elicit a police response by lying to the police, often suggesting that the person they want to SWAT is a danger to themselves or others. This has often been done as a prank between friends, but is also used maliciously as a form of harassment in order to harm people.
Indeed, there have been actual deaths as a result of SWATing. Such as the story of Andrew Finch who was murdered by police three days after Christmas in 2017. This due to some online gamers having a fall out over Call of Duty and organising a SWATing against each other. The expected victim then tricked the perpetrators into sending the SWAT team to an old address; which is where Finch now lived.
Andrew Finch, unaware of any of this, opened the door to the police and was fatally shot on his doorstep.
According to reports elsewhere, Keffals’ brother reported the potential for SWATing to happen to police but was told “there is nothing we can do”. Which is, to me, astonishing. Its been over 10 years of SWATing being a thing that people can and will do if they don’t like you enough. It has taken people’s lives, resulted in the police killing yet more innocent people and put others behind bars for up to 20 years.
How, in 2022, do police forces not have procedure and policy for potential SWATing incidents?
With the fraudulent email sent in Keffals’ deadname, the police have chosen to book her and refer to her in her deadname. Again; this is a name she has not used for over 10 years. This is just being wilfully complicit in anti-trans harassment.
The police are allowing themselves to be weaponised by transphobia into potentially life-threatening harassment. Then just refusing to accept any responsibility or blame for being so negligent and out of touch with the types of crimes that target online personalities. There is no law against SWATing in her province and very little official documentation that even references the existence of it.
This means that the only option someone like Keffals has when they have had their private information posted online and then used for malicious purposes like this is to move house. Something which costs a lot of money which is hard to come by when you’re a streamer and the police just seized a bunch of your equipment on the say so of abusers.
To which aim Keffals has launched a crowdfunder that blew passed its initial funding goal within the first few hours of being open. At time of writing the new funding goal is $70,000 CAD with $58,820 CAD of that raised already. Funds will be used to move to a safe location, recoup the losses after the police seized equipment and any excess will be placed into a legal fund for protecting her in future.
All our love and solidarity goes out to her here from Trans Writes. This whole situation stinks. I’m so sorry its happened and that the burden to fix it now lies on the community as opposed to the people who caused the problem. But every cloud has a silver lining and that lining is you, the community, coming together and doing something awesome for each other. Bad ass. Keep up the good work.