MYSTERY AT E3: Pretty Gamer Girl Is Offline for 24 Hours, Internet Loses Its Shit

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By William Hicks | 3:07 pm, June 17, 2017
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In the midst of E3 2017, the biggest gaming expo in the world held every year in Los Angeles, there was a mystery for the ages. It was basically like the mystery at the 1893 Chicago World Fair, except it didn’t have a murder, a mystery murder house, or a murderer and can be summed up as petty drama between people who livestream video games for a living.

But a mystery all the same! One that brought together three competing forces—racist Internet trolls, intersectional feminists and the divided online gaming community—in investigation.

On Wednesday night, Twitch streamer Lauralania, real name Tia Zimmer, disappeared off into the night after a party hosted by Twitch. Witnesses said she left drunk and was off to a strip club.

After she was not seen for 20 hours, people started getting concerned. A fellow streamer, Ashleeeeean, was supposed to meet Lauralania the next day. Lauralania was also supposed to attend a number of panels to meet with her fans, but was nowhere to be found. No one, even her boyfriend Erho, a professional Heroes of the Storm player, could reach her by phone.

Ashleeeeean eventually posted a tweet asking for help finding Lauralania.

It went viral, getting shared by big names in video games like IGN and the official Twitch account.

Video game Twitter exploded in talk about Lauralania’s whereabouts. People said they saw her get in a cab. One person tweeted that her Lyft driver may have seen Lauralania. Multiple massive threads formed on Reddit and 4chan, discussing and attempting to investigate the missing case. But no one actually provided any useful information.

About six hours after Ashleeeeean’s tweet, Lauralania tweeted out that she was fine. At first people didn’t believe her and thought her account was hacked. She eventually posted a video confirming her fineness at around two in the morning.

She told Twitter that her phone died, she was sorry and never meant for any of this to happen. She claimed she was just out playing late-night poker for the 24-hour duration of her absence.

But this is when the real shitstorm developed. Many online began attacking Lauralania and developing elaborate theories for her absence.  Fans felt betrayed that she skipped her panels.

Some believed she disappeared as a publicity account to gain more Twitter followers and grow her Twitch channel. Her Twitter account grew from about 6,000 followers to 12,000 during the ordeal.

4chan’s /pol/ board began mounting an investigation of the video, Lauralania posted. The white supremacist currents common on the board took over, and many were convinced she was cheating on her boyfriend with a black man. The people on /pol/ have this weird paronoia about “white genocide” or the slow death of the white race through miscegenation.

The board members began scouring Los Angeles hotels to find her location, and became convinced she was staying at a seedy motel in West Hollywood, only fit (in their minds) for prostitutes and drug users. They matched certain objects in the video to the Google Street View of the location.

They also used a previous video Lauralania had posted, but deleted, which provides even fewer visual clues.

This is far from concrete evidence of where she was staying, but it certainly captured the Internet’s imagination.

Adding fuel to the fire was Lauralania’s boyfriend’s response on Twitter. While Lauralania was tweeting, Erho responded, angry that he still had not received a call from her.

A Twitter user then posted a screenshot of a direct message conversation he had with Erho, where Erho was flipping out, saying he was going to kick Lauralania out of his house when she returns from E3.

 

The following day, Lauralania was very proactive about proving her story was true. She posted receipts from the casino and even a bank statement.

Meanwhile, Lauralania claimed that everything was patched up between herself and Erho after a phone call. For his part, Erho has been pretty silent on Twitter.

On the flight home, Lauralania forgot her phone charger again, but thankfully this time the Internet was able to contain itself in her absence.

 

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