A livestreamed lie detector test designed to decide the fate of an accused Call of Duty: Warzone cheater abruptly ended this week after doubts of the polygraph’s validity and the person conducting it surfaced.
As reported by Dexerto (opens in new tab), the April 5 event was the brainchild of esports commentator Jake Lucky and Grady Rains of Full Squad Gaming, who invited accused cheater ShiftyTV (opens in new tab) to their Los Angeles studio to prove his innocence (or guilt). The planned itinerary for the stream would begin with Shifty playing Warzone on a ‘clean’ PC setup to test his performance against his home PC. The stream would conclude with the results of a polygraph test conducted by John Grogan, a for-hire polygraph examiner who has conducted similar tests for Dr. Phil, Vanity Fair, and The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Just moments before Grogan shared results of the test to viewers, Rains intervened to call for a break. “Hold on hold on hold on, let’s take a break. Let’s take a break really quick. Let’s take a break,” he said. “Can we throw up a sign and take a break really quick?” The broadcast then transitioned to a waiting screen before eventually ending.
Video credit: Dexerto (opens in new tab)
It’s hard to know for sure, because the archive of the event was quickly deleted by Full Squad Gaming, but Rains likely ended the stream to address the increasing number of viewers in chat pointing out Grogan’s reputation in the polygraph community. In 2008, retired FBI special agent Jack Trimarco (another polygraph operator who regularly appeared on Dr. Phil before his death in 2018) publicly declared Grogan a “polygraph parasite (opens in new tab)” allegedly convicted of “26 counts of fraud.” Grogan refuted these claims, and later filed a defamation lawsuit against Trimarco that was settled out of court in 2009.
After the stream, Lucky apologized to viewers and alluded to the reason behind the stream’s sudden end. “At the end of the day I did not feel comfortable sharing those results and I think that was the right call,” he said.
At the end of the day I did not feel comfortable sharing those results and I think that was the right call. Thank you all so much who came out because beyond that big blunder that was so much fun for me. More important updates coming tomorrow.April 6, 2022
The allegations were apparently enough for Lucky’s confidence in Grogan to erode, but they haven’t stopped Grogan in the past. In recent years he’s become Hollywood’s go-to guy (opens in new tab) when you need someone to look at a polygraph test and confidently declare whether or not someone is lying. He has tested for deception in celebrities big and small including Hailey Baldwin, Machine Gun Kelly, The Jonas Brothers, The Try Guys, and Pete Davidson. He’ll apparently test anybody with $145 to burn (with appointment).
Misgivings with Grogan aside, another good reason to stop conducting a polygraph test is, of course, because lie detectors don’t work (opens in new tab). This is a fact that was pointed out to Lucky and co. numerous times on Twitter before and after the April 5 stream but has remained unaddressed by anyone involved. This fact is also regularly ignored by all of the other YouTube channels and TV shows that hire people like Grogan to “detect lies”. You could argue polygraphs are a fun, make-believe activity that makes for a great video. You could also argue it’s misleading and disingenuous to portray polygraphs as trustworthy.
Meanwhile, Shifty, who by the end of the stream was deemed neither cheater nor innocent (though his gameplay sure looks suspicious to me!), seems to be pretty OK with how it all went down.
“Made history today, s**t just hit,” he tweeted after the aborted polygraph stream.