Lakewood, CA–Gatson Mcwhinnie is no stranger to the internet. As a 21-year-old, his generation is highly engaged in social media in various ways–each trying to carve out a piece of attention–no matter how they capture it. Gatson was also caught in the hype of social media at one point, garnering between 20,000-100,000 views per Instagram post.
This was from his style of “clout videos” of him in various L.A neighborhoods calling out rival social media stars.
Since January however, Gatson had been taking a hiatus from social media, only to be drawn back into it when a manifesto in his name was posted to Reddit last weekend, claiming that Gatson was going to commit a mass shooting in the city of Lakewood.
“I woke up and someone was texting me like, please don’t kill people, or something like that. I was like, what are you talking about? Then they sent me the post–I was like what is that? I went on Twitter and Lakewood was trending, so I called the Sheriff’s and told them I did not do that,” said Gatson.
He was told to come to the station where he was held for questioning for a few hours, as authorities searched his home for weapons. After they were satisfied that Gatson was not a threat, or the author of the post, he was released.
Swatting is a familiar practice especially in the online gaming world, that involves calls being made to police, or threats made online, to prompt a massive police response. These calls usually lead police to the home of someone other than the person who made the call.
Just like he is no stranger to social media hype and drama, Gatson has also been swatted before.
“I thought that was crazy because anyone could write that and they would just believe any random name? I don’t know if it was because it was my name, or how it was written. I guess they have to take precaution but I wasn’t scared because I knew I didn’t do anything,” Gatson expressed.
Back in January, Gatson says that he decided to not involve himself in his previous style of social media content anymore. He was tired of the hype and he also found himself apologizing after he made a social media post, claiming to be the alleged killer of Nipsey Hussle that brought him a lot of negative attention.
Another young, social media personality in L.A also lost his life for a similar style of videos last year.
“Not all attention is good attention,” Gatson replied when asked what lesson he learned from making such an outrageous and upsetting post about the late Nipsey Hussle.
He also says that he has accomplished way more with the time he used to spend online. There is still, however, a burning desire inside Gatson to become a famous rapper, simply because he loves the lifestyle. This would mean that Gatson would have to make a comeback to social media at some point, to promote his music and to grow his fan base.
“I think it’s called trolling. I stopped doing it because I don’t make any money off of it. It’s just dumb to be honest. Once I stopped posting on Instagram, that’s when I made the most amount of money,” Gatson explained.