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Twitch deletes PogChamp emote because it’s now the face of ‘further violence’

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Twitch says it will work with its community to make a new emote

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitch banned the popular PogChamp emote Wednesday after the person depicted in it published tweets “encouraging further violence” following a riot at the US Capitol.

“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,” Twitch said in a statement Wednesday evening. “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 PogChamp emote is one of the oldest on Twitch and is widely used by viewers to display excitement in stream chats. PogChamp, or “poggers,” has become synonymous with gaming culture and streaming platforms like Twitch due to its popularity. “Poggers,” the shortened version of the emote, has taken off as a general meme expressing surprise over the last few years.

Twitch’s decision to ban PogChamp was made after the face depicted in the emote, professional Street Fighter player Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, published tweets Wednesday questioning whether more “civil unrest” would take place after a woman was shot at the Capitol. Earlier Wednesday, pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol building, delaying a vote to certify the results of the 2020 election.

“We will work with the community to design a new emote for the most hype moments on Twitch,” Twitch said on Twitter Wednesday.