Twitch Removes PogChamp Emote After ‘Gootecks’ Made Statements that ‘Encouraged Further Violence’ Following U.S. Capitol Takeover

On January 6, 2021, President Trump supporters unleashed a terrorist attack on the United States Capitol building, in protest of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, arguing that he had won by fraudulent means — a claim that has no basis in reality. Later that day, fighting game personality Ryan ‘Gootecks' Gutierrez tweeted controversial remarks in regards to the attacks that seemed to encourage more violence, leading Twitch to remove the famous “PogChamp” emote of his face from the platform, which you can see below.

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“PogChamp” emote

Following the terrorist attacks on the United States Capitol building, Gutierrez tweeted “will there be civil unrest for the woman who was executed inside the Capitol today or will the #MAGAMartyr die in vain?” which seems to add fuel to the fire, encouraging more violence. In response to this, Twitch took to Twitter, announcing “we've made the decision to remove the PogChamp emote following statements from the face of the emote encouraging further violence after what took place in the Capitol today.”

Twitch then added that it couldn't “in good conscience” continue allowing the emote to be used, after Gutierrez's statement.

It was then revealed that Twitch will be “working with the community” to come up with a replacement emote, though it's unclear what that may be.

Across social media, many responded with their own ideas and renditions of the PogChamps emote, as depicted by other video game characters or respected members of the community. One idea from Twitter user Sean Plott (@day9tv) is for Twitch to feature a database with the faces of respected streamers, and to display one of them at random when using the emote, offering a diverse array of personalities available. The suggestion has already reached over 71,000 likes on Twitter.

It's certainly a step in the right direction to see Twitch move so quickly to address the issue by removing the PogChamps emote. While the video game industry has a long way to go in terms of being more inclusive and kind, it's up to Twitch (and other platforms) to start pushing towards diversity and inclusivity, and to ban any encouragement of hate and violence — much like what Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo vowed to do at the end of 2020.

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Joseph loves Nintendo and horror games. When he's not writing about video games he can usually be found petting his cats and listening to some Progressive Metal. He thinks Meshuggah is tight.