What an embarrassing website to work for—banning this emote isn’t going to do a single thing.
One of the oldest and most popular global emotes on Twitch has been removed from the service after Twitch said “the face of the emote encourag[ed] further violence after what took place in the Capitol [Wednesday].”
That face belongs to Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, a longtime Street Fighter pro and commentator. Since 2012 and until yesterday, Gutierrez had been immortalized on Twitch in the form of the “PogChamp” chat emote, which portrayed an exaggerated excited face he first made in a 2010 video (the name comes from another meme-worthy video featuring Gutierrez playing with pogs).
Twitch’s decision to remove the emote (one of its custom chatroom emojis) seems focused on a series of tweets Gutierrez made Wednesday afternoon, expressing sympathy for the “#MAGAMartyr” shot during the violent Pro-Trump mob invasion of the US Capitol Wednesday. Gutierrez went on to ask if her death would lead to “civil unrest” or if she would “die in vain.” In the hours before Twitch’s decision, a number of people in and around the Twitch community had begun to call attention to Gutierrez’s tweets and/or suggest the emote be removed or replaced.
In 2018, Twitch rolled out a new harassment policy that began considering “verifiable hateful or harassing conduct that takes place off-Twitch” in its moderation decisions.
“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,” Twitch said as part of its tweeted statement. “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.”