Twitch removes PogChamp emote: 'We can't in good conscience continue to enable use of the image'

The PogChamp face.

The PogChamp face (as it appeared in this video)(Image credit: Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez)

Earlier today, the US Capitol was overrun by far-right rioters acting in support of President Trump's baseless claims that the election of Joe Biden was fraudulent. As the building was breached, we noted that streamer HasanAbi's commentary and cable news feeds had become the top stream on Twitch.

The day isn't over, and Twitch is relevant again for a different reason: It has responded to a tweet from fighting game personality Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez by removing Twitch's immensely popular PogChamp emote, which depicts his face.

In the tweet, Gutierrez called for "civil unrest" on behalf of one of the rioters, a woman who was shot and killed by law enforcement inside the Capitol. Gutierrez referred to her as "the #MAGAMartyr" and characterized her death as an "execution." Twitch viewed the statement as a call for further violence by the pro-Trump mob.


The PogChamp emote. (Image credit: Twitch)

"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," wrote Twitch

"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. We will work with the community to design a new emote for the most hype moments on Twitch."

The PogChamp emote was one of the most popular on Twitch, and even spawned merchandise. Previously, calls to remove it in response to Gutierrez posting COVID-related conspiracy theories were ignored, but Twitch has become more proactive about blocking things recently. It's banned the Confederate flag, blackface, and unwelcome sexual comments, as well as the use of words like 'simp' and 'incel' when intended as sexually disparaging insults.

According to NBC, three arrests were made inside the Capitol today, and improvised explosives were found. Other social media platforms have also taken steps to shut down inciting speech following the Capitol riot: Twitter locked President Trump's account for 12 hours.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.