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PogChamp emote banned for ties to Capitol violence


Amazon’s livestreaming platform Twitch has banned a popular gaming emote, citing how the man pictured in the emote tweeted comments that encouraged “further violence.”

The PogChamp emote on Twitch is one of the oldest on the platform and was commonly used by gamers to signify joy and surprise. But the face featured in the emote, pro Street Fighter player and entrepreneur Ryan Gutierrez, drew scrutiny after he posted a call for “civil unrest” to Twitter Wednesday.

Gutierrez, who tweets under the handle gootecks, called the woman who died after being shot at Capitol Hill a #MakeAmericaGreatAgain martyr and pushed for civil unrest in response to her death. He followed up with another tweet claiming he was being censored, saying “PS Big Brother Twitter wouldn’t let me post the url so if you don’t think big tech censorship is real, there you go.”

Gutierrez has not tweeted about the Twitch emote ban and has not responded to requests for comment.
Gamers typically say “PogChamp” or variations such as “Poggers” and “Pog” when celebrating a surprise win in a game or sharing something they consider to be particularly awesome. Emotes, similar to emojis, are often spammed ad nauseum while streamers play games or chat with fans.

The PogChamp emote originated from a 2010 video blooper of Gutierrez where he made an exaggerated look of surprise, with wide open eyes and a gaping mouth.

Twitch acknowledged Wednesday that “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.” The platform said it would work on creating a replacement emote.

Wednesday’s ban has fans calling for a new person to become the face of the PogChamp emote to replace Gutierrez, with many volunteering their likeness or the likeness of their favorite Twitch streamers.

Facebook and Twitter also took action in response to Wednesday’s unrest, suspending President Donald Trump’s accounts to limit the reach of his social media posts addressing his supporters, including those who stormed the Capitol.

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