Twitch has banned its popular PogChamp emote after the man behind its origin supported the Capitol riots on social media. Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, whose face was made infamous as a shocked reaction emote on the streaming platform, asked for further “civil unrest” following the riots. As a result, Twitch banned the emote from being used by its viewers.
Gutierrez made the comments following the violence in Washington D.C., in which a crowd of pro-Trump protesters stormed the United States Capitol. The riots resulted in four deaths and 52 rioters being arrested.
“Will there be civil unrest for the woman who was executed inside the Capitol today or will the #MAGAMartyr die in vain?” Gutierrez tweeted, prompting Twitch to remove the PogChamp emote as a result.
Twitch later released a statement, saying that Gutierrez “encouraging further violence” led to its decision to remove the emote. The company said that while it wanted the “sentiment and use of Pog to live on,” it couldn’t “in good conscience” allow the image to continue to be used and associated with Gutierrez’s comments.
We want the sentiment and use of Pog to live on – its meaning is much bigger than the person depicted or image itself– and it has a big place in Twitch culture. However, we can't in good conscience continue to enable use of the image.
— Twitch (@Twitch) January 7, 2021
Will PogChamp have a replacement?
While PogChamp has been removed, Twitch has also stated that the emote will soon receive a replacement. The platform is now going to work with the community in order to design a new emote “for the most hype moments on Twitch,” with several high-profile creators already offering their thoughts on what it should be.
Esports commentator Sean Plott, better known as Day, suggested that Twitch could create a database of streamers’ faces that would appear at random when typing PogChamp in chat:
Yo @Twitch suggestion for PogChamp: create a database of streamer and/or general faces. Whenever someone types PogChamp, display one of those faces at random. Would give a really nice crowd feel to a chat spamming PogChamp and allow the meaning to be tied to all of us instead.
— Sean Plott (@day9tv) January 7, 2021
The Capitol riots erupted after President Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol during a rally. Emboldened by his words, a mob descended on the Capitol building, where lawmakers were meeting to confirm Joe Biden’s victory in the US election.
Following the riots, conspiracies arose which suggested that Antifa were behind the riots due to one rioter having a tattoo of an “Antifa symbol.” It was promptly uncovered that the symbol was the Mark of the Outsider from the Dishonored series.
Twitch’s decision to remove PogChamp comes during a time when political streams are becoming increasingly popular on the platform. During the US election, data revealed that livestreams from political streamers like HasanAbi nearly beat out mainstream coverage for the first time ever.
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