Earlier this week, Twitch pulled the PogChamp emote, one of its oldest and most popular emotes, from its platform.
“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,” tweeted Twitch on Jan. 6. “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 based on Ryan Gutierrez, who encouraged his followers on Twitter to continue the “civil unrest” (read: terrorism and insurrection) of the Trump supporters who invaded Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.
Content creator and Twitch partner Natasha “ZombaeKillz” Zinda took notice of the tweet, and challenged the streaming platform on removing the PogChamp emote. It was only a few hours later that Twitch tweeted its decision to remove the emote.
— Zombaekillz (She/Her) (@ZombaeKillz) January 7, 2021
But there remained the issue of how to replace the popular emote. Sean Plott, the esports commentator, player, event host, and game designer who hosts Day9TV, gave Twitch a recommendation.
“Yo @Twitch suggestion for PogChamp: create a database of streamer and/or general faces,” he tweeted after Twitch announced its decision. “Whenever someone types PogChamp, display one of those faces at random. Would give a really nice crowd feel to a chat spamming PogChamp and allow the meaning to be tied to all of us instead.”
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On Jan. 8, Twitch responded to the tweet, saying, “You know what? In the spirit of figuring out 2021 together, let’s just roll with it for now! Get ready for a new PogChamp every 24 hours, starting today.” As of today, Jan. 10, the PogChamp emote has taken the form of streamers Unrooolie, UmiNoKaiju, and Reversal.
Twitch has not discussed how it is making its selections, nor how long this tradition will go on. However, it’s a great move to see on the streaming platform’s part. This way, the PogChamp emote can go on and take on a much better connotation, one that is free of ties to figures who spread harmful conspiracy theories. It also allows for the whole community to be celebrated, especially if fantastic creators without hundreds of thousands of subscribers will get to have some time in the spotlight as the PogChamp emote.