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The Real Reason Twitch Removed The PogChamp Emote

Twitch has made the decision to remove the popular PogChamp emote, which features the face of streamer Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez. This decision was made after Gutierriez published tweets seemingly encouraging violence during the protests and riots at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon. Twitch streamers and fans did express disappointment over the emote's removal, though some of the platform's top stars publicly stated that they understood why the action was necessary.


On Wednesday evening, Gutierrez took to Twitter to call for "civil unrest" after a woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol building. The streamer referred to the woman as a "#MAGAMartyr" and referenced websites where people could watch the "gruesome" violence.

Just hours later, Twitch tweeted that it removed Gutierrez's PogChamp emote, which is often used to express excitement, joy, or shock. "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," the streaming platform wrote. Twitch went on to say that it wants the "sentiment and use of Pog [Play Of The Game] to live on," as it plays a big role in Twitch culture, but the platform cannot "in good conscience continue to enable use of the [Gutierrez] image."


Twitch concluded by stating that it would work with the community to create a new emote for "the most hype moments on Twitch."

The PogChamp emote was the fifth most popular Twitch emote, with a reported 813,916,297 uses before it was removed. The current leader in Twitch emotes is TriHard, which features the face of streamer TriHex and is also used to express excitement. The TriHard emote currently has more than 1.6 billion uses and counting.

Because of its popularity in the Twitch community, the removal of the PogChamp emote caused a bit of a stir. Overwatch pro xQc discussed Twitch's decision during his stream on Wednesday evening, stating that he knew it wasn't ideal, but it seemed like the right choice to make. "I know it's not how you want things to be, but ... it leaves too much space for [Twitch] to get rolled over," he said.

xQc went on to give a hypothetical example of a future TwitchCon event where PogChamp's emote would be featured alongside others, which could be a bad look for the Amazon-backed platform. "This is what they endorse. Yikes, TwitchTV," xQc said, imitating what he thought people would say. 

Twitch fans and streamers alike have already begun sharing ideas for a PogChamp emote replacement, such as an emote for the late streamer Etika or a button for a random emote in place of PogChamp. Twitch has some big shoes to fill, but the community will no doubt bring some more great ideas to the table.