‘Call of Duty’ drops Nickmercs character skin after homophobic tweet

Call of Duty has removed Nickmercs‘ character skin from its in-game shop after the streamer and FaZe Clan co-owner tweeted that queer people “should leave little children alone.”

Nickmercs (aka Nicholas Kolcheff) was responding to a tweet about anti-LGBTQ+ protestors attacking queer supporters outside of a school board meeting in Glendale, Calif., where board members were voting on whether the school should formally recognize June as Pride Month.

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After his comment drew criticism, Kolcheff doubled down, saying on a livestream, “I just don’t think it’s any place for a teacher or a school–I don’t think it’s the place to speak about things like that. It’s not that I think it shouldn’t be spoken about. If that’s what you get from that tweet, then you’re just wrong.”

“I didn’t mean to upset anybody,” he added. “I’m not apologizing about the tweet, because I don’t feel like it’s wrong. I’m gonna stand by what I said.”

Kolcheff’s tweet echoes the homophobic and transphobic “groomer” conspiracy rhetoric that’s been increasingly bandied about by right-wing pundits since 2020. We don’t want to waste any more digital ink on it than necessary, but basically, proponents believe–or think they can gain something

from making others believe–that queer people are “grooming” young children to also be queer. This rhetoric has especially targeted transgender people, who, as a result, are now facing new laws impacting not only their access to healthcare, but also their ability to exist in public.

Call of Duty developer Activision added Kolcheff to Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone last month. He was the first pro gamer to become a playable character within the game.

It confirmed on Twitter that it had removed Kolcheff’s skin because of his comments.

“Due to recent events, we have removed the ‘NICKMERCS Operator’ bundle from the Modern Warfare II and Warzone store,” it said. “We are focused on celebrating PRIDE with our employees and our community.”

If you’ve ever been in a Call of Duty lobby, you can probably guess exactly how hundreds of players have responded to COD‘s decision. But there are also positive responses from queer and ally gamers. As for the rest of the streaming community, Dr DisRespect notably backed Kolcheff, saying Call of Duty was “pathetic” for removing the skin.

Published by
James Hale

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