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Call of Duty removes Nickmercs skin following streamer’s anti-LGBTQ tweet

Popular CoD streamer TimTheTatman asked for his operator bundle to be removed ‘in support’

The Nickmercs operator skin for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2/Warzone 2.0 featuring the streamer holding an assault rifle and pointing toward the sky Image: Activision
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Call of Duty publisher Activision has removed the “Nickmercs Operator” bundle from its Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone stores, after the streamer and former MLG Champion it was named for made an anti-LGBTQ tweet.

On Tuesday, esports broadcaster Chris Puckett responded to footage shared on Twitter of anti-LGBTQ protestors attacking pro-LGBTQ demonstrators in Glendale, California outside of a school board meeting. In his quote tweet, he said: “Americans are in a sad place right now. Let people love who they love and live your own life.”

Nick Kolcheff, who streams under the name Nickmercs, tweeted in response, with a common anti-LGBTQ talking point that far-right conservatives use to disparage trans people. “They should leave little children alone,” Nickmercs tweeted. “That’s the real issue.” Numerous Twitter users tweeted their disappointment, in response to the statement.

The following day, Nickmercs livestreamed and said that he wouldn’t apologize or remove the statement from Twitter. “I’m not apologizing about the tweet, because I don’t feel like I’m — I don’t feel like it’s wrong,” he said, saying that he and his wife “want to be the one[s] to speak with our child about stuff like that.”

Nickmercs is a popular Twitch streamer with 6.7 million Twitch subscribers and 2.6 million followers on Instagram. He’s a member and co-owner of FaZe Clan, an esports and lifestyle organization. The Nickmercs bundle launched in Call of Duty on May 31, alongside a similar bundle for streamer TimTheTatman. Activision has since pulled a blog post promoting the two bundles.

CharlieIntel, a site that shares Call of Duty news, initially noticed the Nickmercs skins disappearing from Call of Duty stores on Thursday, saying “It appears Activision has removed the Nickmercs bundle from the Warzone and MWII store this evening,” and noting “the removal of his bundle comes a day after Nickmercs’ recent comments about the LGBT+ community.”

The official Call of Duty Twitter account responded on the same day, confirming the removal of the “NICKMERCS Operator” bundle from those two stores. “We are focused on celebrating PRIDE with our employees and our community,” Call of Duty’s tweet read. An Activision representative emailed Polygon the same statement.

Nickmercs has not made an official statement in light of the skin being pulled from Call of Duty stores. However, he tweeted “families are built through adversity,” noting his appreciation of those who “have my back.” Polygon has reached out to Nickmercs for comment, and will update the story when he responds.

Update: An Activision representative emailed Polygon the following statement: “Due to recent events, we have removed the “NICKMERCS Operator” bundle from the Modern Warfare II and Warzone store. We are focused on celebrating PRIDE with our employees and our community.”

Update (June 12): Activision has also removed popular streamer TimTheTatman’s operator bundle from Call of Duty stores, after he asked to have the bundle themed after him removed — in an act of solidarity with Nickmercs. “At Tim’s request, we have removed the TimTheTatman operator bundle from the Modern Warfare II and the Warzone store,” an Activision spokesperson told Polygon in an email.

A screenshot of the operator skins for Nickmercs and TimTheTatman in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2/Warzone 2.0. Image: Activision

Timothy John Betar, who goes by TimTheTatman online and who has more than 7 million Twitch followers, tweeted his support of Nickmercs on June 10. In the tweet, he called for Activision to remove his bundle from Call of Duty stores.

“NICKMERCS has been my friend for years- we went in getting our CoD operators together. It feels wrong for me to have mine and him no longer have his. In support of my friend, please remove the timthetatman bundle,” he wrote on Twitter, tagging the Call of Duty official Twitter account.

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