Twitch Removes the PogChamp Emote and Why It Matters
We’ve all used the PogChamp emote before. That goofy, excitable face that shows hype or disbelief? That is the face of Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, a once-pivotal member of the fighting game community. Several people at Esports Talk, myself included, cite Gootecks as the person who brought us back to fighting games and creating content with our friends. However, after his statements about the Capitol’s insurrection on Jan. 6, Twitch permanently removed the PogChamp emote from its platform.
Fall From Grace
Gooteck’s face is synonymous with Twitch, thanks to the ever-popular PogChamp emote. His statements after the attack on the Capitol building on Jan. 6 are more than uncalled for. Gootecks said the following: “Will there be civil unrest for the woman who was executed inside the Capitol today or will the #MAGAMartyr die in vain?”
He also pointed out the video will be posted on (banned dot video) later. I don’t even have words for this. This isn’t the first time Gootecks has openly said something incendiary. He also touts the anti-mask conspiracy theory.
A few hours after Gooteck’s tweet, Twitch offered a response. Twitch removed the PogChamp emote immediately: “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. 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.”
Okay, we need to talk about the emote itself. I know and understand why people are upset. It’s such a massive part of Twitch culture. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t used the emote or said “poggers” out loud. So I get it. I think it could have stayed because Gootecks has repeatedly gone on record to say how much he hates the emote. He doesn’t want that to be his legacy, I guess. It is time for the Pog emote to change. We can’t have the face of someone who openly hateful represent good times.
As we read the announcement that Twitch removes the PogChamp emote, it made us think. We’re glad Twitch decided that a new emote will be made. How about this as a suggestion: A random popular streamer emote gets pulled whenever you use the new PogChamp emote? Say, someone like GrandPooBear’s PooChamp? Several streamers have their version of PogChamp. Why not use the less problematic people to represent the community?
It would be such a bad idea to have a significant social media platform to uphold someone’s image that espouses such negative, hateful values. Sure, many of the top Twitch streamers would be glad to see PogChamp. It’s still very problematic. There will be another emote, and hopefully, it’s just as good. I have faith it will.
We agree. We’re going to miss the emote as it stands. But Twitch’s decision to come up with a new one that will hopefully offer the same hype and fond memories, that’s a good idea. It can’t be too hard to make an emote random, either. Each time you PogChamp, we could have a different creator pop up. There’s nothing more Twitch chatters love than flooding chat with tons of emotes. This would make those Pog moments way more chaotic and hype-filled. Let’s get on that one, Twitch!