Following the removal of the PogChamp emote from Twitch, some fans have been petitioning to have the late streamer Byron ‘Reckful’ Bernstein as the new face of PogChamp as a tribute to his memory, though many have stressed that the idea may end up causing more harm than good.
PogChamp has become a staple of Twitch culture since it was implemented on the site in 2012, and has even become part of many streamers and fans’ vocabulary. The emote featured the face of Ryan ‘Gootecks’ Gutierrez, taken from an outtake of one of his videos from back in 2010.
However, on January 6, Twitch announced that they would be removing the much-loved emote after Ryan posted a Tweet about the protests in the US which was deemed by Twitch to be “encouraging further violence.”
Though viewers were shocked, the company did state that “we will work with the community to design a new emote for the most hype moments on Twitch.”
It didn’t take long for fans to speculate over who could be made the new face of PogChamp, and one name many felt drawn to was Byron ‘Reckful’ Bernstein who sadly passed away in July 2020.
Reckful was hugely influential in the streaming scene, and with his passing even prompted “not only the largest in-game memorial but also the largest in-game player-driven event” in the history of World of Warcraft, a testament to how loved he was by the community.
Today we all witnessed not only the largest in-game memorial but also the largest in-game player-driven event in the history of World of Warcraft
In times like this it's easy to think of the evil that people are capable of but we can't forget the purity and kindness as well. pic.twitter.com/5mzOSZrM3Z
— Zack (@Asmongold) July 3, 2020
Viewers start petition for new PogChamp face
For that reason, Twitch users have started a petition to make Byron the new face of PogChamp, saying “As PogChamp has been removed, honoring what Reckful did for Twitch by making him a global emote in replacement for PogChamp would satisfy those who have been asking for a global emote since his passing and be a good new face for the emote.”
Signers agreed with the sentiment, writing, “please make it happen, Reckful was such an important person on Twitch and his memory should be immortalized with a global emote.”
Some users disagree with the petition
However, others in a Reddit thread about the petition were concerned that the emote may actually end up being used in a disrespectful way. “I like the idea but I worry about some people may misuse the emote to represent anything depression/suicide-related,” one Redditor wrote.
Another said, “I love Reckful but this is a horrible idea. Think of the pain it will remind some of his close friends and even viewers when it’s used.”
It’s unclear how long it will take for Twitch to reinstate some form of PogChamp, though the selection process for a new face may take longer than many expected.