NICKMERCS Pride controversy explained: What did he say & why did CoD remove his skin?
A storm has brewed up regarding NICKMERCS, after a short tweet he posted in response to a Pride Month protest. The fallout has resulted in both backlash and support for the streamer, and eventually, Call of Duty removed his skin from the game. Here’s everything that happened.
NICKMERCS is one of the most popular streamers on Twitch, regularly pulling in more than 20,000 viewers on any given stream. He is best known for playing shooter games and battle royales like Call of Duty and Apex Legends.
A skilled player and an excellent entertainer, he has amassed a large following, with millions of loyal fans, dubbed MFAM (mercs fam). It’s fair to say that he has never been a particularly controversial streamer, but this changed on June 7, when he made a short but notable tweet.
- What did NICKMERCS tweet?
- How did he respond?
- CoD removes NICKMERCS operator
- Nick breaks silence on Operator removal
- TimTheTatman requests his skin is removed
- Nick’s following increases
- Nick returns to streaming
What did NICKMERCS tweet about Pride Month?
Responding to a tweet about Pride Month being recognized in a school, which had resulted in a brawl and three arrests, NICKMERCS said, “They should leave the little kids out of it. That’s the real issue.”
The backlash to this comment was swift, with many in the gaming community calling him a “bigot” and labeling the tweet “anti-LGBTQ.” Their argument is that Pride is important in schools and that NICKMERCS was parroting dangerous rhetoric that implies teaching children about sexuality is akin to grooming.
However, many others took NICKMERCS’ side of the debate, citing that he has just had a child, and arguing that it is for parents to choose how and when to have those conversations with children, rather than teachers.
How did NICKMERCS respond?
On his stream the next day, Nick took a few minutes at the outset to address his tweet.
He said that he had not intended to hurt anyone, but recognized that he had. However, he stopped short of apologizing for the tweet, and said he stood by what he said.
“I don’t have any quarrel with people on the internet. It wasn’t an anti — I guess — gay tweet. That wasn’t what it was. If you think that I hate you because you’re a certain way, you couldn’t be any more wrong.”
Nick did apologize to esports caster Puckett however. Puckett’s tweet is what he had initially replied to, and Nick felt bad for causing chaos in his replies, and having those who took Nick’s side insult him.
Call of Duty removes NICKMERCS operator
A matter of hours after Nick’s response to the controversy, players noticed that his operator bundle was no longer available in Call of Duty, in either Warzone 2 or Modern Warfare 2.
Activision soon confirmed that they had removed the skin, “due to recent events.”
“We are focused on celebrating PRIDE with our employees and our community,” they concluded.
Players who already owned the skin can, at least at the time of writing, still use it in-game.
In response, some CoD players suggested they would uninstall the game or simply stop playing it in protest of Activision’s decision. Others, though, applauded Activision for taking action in the face of the backlash.
NICKMERCS breaks silence following his operator being removed
The day after his Operator was removed from the in-game store, NICKMERCS put out a statement on Twitter that didn’t directly address the situation. Rather, he thanked those who had his back through the controversy.
He spoke fondly of those who stuck with him, and claimed that “friends are created in good times, but families are built through adversity.” And, while he didn’t double down on his initial tweet here, he also didn’t retract it.
TimTheTatman requests CoD remove his skin too
In a move of solidarity with his friend, TimTheTatman publicly requested that Call of Duty remove his skin from the game too. He said that they had been added together, and that he didn’t feel right having his skin while Nick’s was removed.
Call of Duty obliged, and neither operator bundle is available in the store, for Warzone or Modern Warfare 2.
NICKMERCS following shoots up amid controversy
As of June 12, NICKMERCS gained around 50,000 new Twitter followers, in the fallout of the controversy.
Although some people also said they were unfollowing the creator, clearly the attention has earned him some new fans too, as well as perhaps some who just want to see what all the fuss is about.
Whether or not NICKMERCS’ Operator skin comes back to the in-game store remains to be seen. He is yet to stream since his last broadcast on June 9.
NICK announces return to streaming
After more than 10 days away from social media, NICKMERCS returned on June 18, posting a father’s day message, and confirming when he would be streaming again.
On Instagram, he plainly stated, “streams are back tomorrow, cya soon gang.” This means he’s due back on Twitch at some point on June 19.
Whether he addresses the controversy again, or proceeds as if it’s all behind him, remains to be seen. We’ll keep you updated.