Before YouTuber IShowSpeed was put under the spotlight for his toxicity, Jake Lucky, an esports commentator and the person responsible for highlighting Speed’s behavior, was also under public scrutiny. Lucky, who tried to exonerate an alleged Call of Duty: Warzone hacker with a lie detector test, was criticized for refusing to share the results, leading folks to question the legitimacy of Lucky’s larger digital media brand, Full Squad Gaming.
The situation’s catalyst occurred last month, when upcoming Warzone pro Damien “ShiftyTV” Spirrell was accused by former pro Rasim “Blazt” Ogresevic of using an aimbot during a $100,000 Caldera Challenge tournament on March 8 (as reported by Dexerto). Several Call of Duty players, including pro Jordan “HusKerrs” Thomasand a TikTok video editor named Judge Jutey, posted clips of ShiftyTV quickly melting down competitors with what they claimed was impeccable precision. ShiftyTV didn’t win, placing third in the tournament, but he had the highest kill-death ratio among the participants. Many were convinced that because his shots were so accurate, ShiftyTV must’ve been hacking. To prove his innocence, ShiftyTV downloaded the FACEIT anti-cheat system not long after the allegations surfaced, but his kill-death ratio suffered. As a result, Call of Duty streamer ScummN and others clowned ShiftyTV’s skills.
Enter Jake Lucky who, after catching wind of the hacking allegations, came together with ShiftyTV in person on April 5 to play on a monitored PC in an attempt to prove he’s a good Warzone player that doesn’t need an aimbot. Lucky and co-host Grady Rains even brought in John Grogan, a polygraph examiner (that’s been labeled a fraud by the late FBI Polygraph Unit special agent Jack Trimarco) and TV personality known for appearances on shows like appeared on Dr. Phil and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. All of these experts were meant to come together for a purported “hacking exam” for ShiftyTV to undertake live, in front of audiences, and perhaps prove his innocence.
While Lucky preceded the show with ample disclaimers about sophisticated hacking methods and the difficulties in truly disproving things, the plan didn’t go well. Lucky and Rains, with ShiftyTV playing on their neutral PC, paused their April 5 show just as polygraph examiner Grogan was going through the results of the lie detector test. Viewers, privy to Grogan’s sketchy history, blew up the chat with questions if the results would even be accurate. Subsequently, the stream, which aired on YouTube and Twitch, was taken offline and the VODs deleted. You can’t view the full broadcast anywhere now. So, any decision on if ShiftyTV was hacking or not has been put on hold because, as Lucky tweeted later that day, he “didn’t feel comfortable” sharing the test results.
Online discourse exploded, with some forgiving Lucky and Rains for their “mistakes” while others recommended they “do more research” before attempting to prove or disprove someone’s innocence. A few even criticized Full Squad Gaming for acting like but not actually being journalists.
The whole debacle is odd, especially as Lucky admitted during the April 5 video hyping up ShiftyTV’s appearance that there was no way for them to “100% confirm or deny if ShiftyTV is hacking.” He went even further, saying it was “near impossible to actually have a conclusive decision on gameplay alone.” Hence why they brought in Grogan, the allegedly convicted “polygraph parasite,” to test the mettle of ShiftyTV’s words with the lie detector. By doing so, the line between entertainment and serious journalism and research was blurred: viewers were asked to think of participants in the livestream as experts who came with asterisks. But if there’s no way to settle the veracity of ShiftyTV’s behavior, then what are we doing here? And if the test results aren’t going to get shared, how do folks put any trust in Full Squad Gaming?
Kotaku reached out to Jake Lucky, ShiftyTV, and John Grogan for comment.