One of the oldest and most popular global emotes on Twitch was retired after Twitch said "the face of the emote encouraged (ed) further violence after what happened at the Capitol (Wednesday)."
That face belongs to Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez, a longtime street fighter pro and commentator. From 2012 until yesterday Gutierrez was immortalized on Twitch in the form of the chat emote "PogChamp" (short for "Player of Games Champion"), which showed an overly excited face that he first made in a 2010 video.
Twitch's decision to remove the emote appears to focus on a series of tweets Gutierrez made on Wednesday afternoon. Gutierrez went on to ask whether her death would lead to "riots" or whether she would "die in vain". In the hours before Twitch's decision, some people in and around the Twitch community had started raising Gutierrez's tweets and / or suggesting that the emote be removed or replaced.
In 2018, Twitch introduced a new Harassment Policy, which began to include "demonstrably hateful or harassing behavior outside of Twitch" in their moderation decisions.
"We want the feel and use of Pog to live on – its meaning is far greater than the person or image it portrays – and it has a huge place in Twitch culture," Twitch said as part of his tweeted statement. "However, we cannot in good conscience continue to allow the use of the image. We will work with the community to design a new emote for most of the hype moments on Twitch."
Enlarge /. One of the many suggestions for a new PogChamp emote that is currently being posted on social media.
Twitch viewers used the PogChamp emote approximately 2 million times a day, according to statistics from TwitchEmote.com, and it was the fifth most popular on the entire site, according to StreamElements. The meme behind the emotes has grown to a point where just saying "Pogger" or "Pog" in a stream or chat can express the same enthusiasm or surprise, to the point that even Rep. Ilhan Omar (D -Minn.) Tried to use it.
In 2018, Twitch partnered with Gutierrez to promote a paid, custom animated "cheermote" of the PogChamp image. That promotion included a video in which Gutierrez joked about a "strong legal team" that the Cheermote created as an alternative to "sue each and every one of you for copyright infringement."
In 2016 Gutierrez told a Reddit AMA that being the face of the emote doesn't feel like anything because it's not something I designed, did on purpose, or even said, "okay". "
By the time Twitch settles on a new PogChamp emote, there are plenty of people out on social media making highly entertaining suggestions for the best puzzled facial expression available.