In a surprising move, Activision Blizzard has taken a firm stance against homophobic comments made by one of their popular streamers, Nickmercs. Following an exchange on social media, the game developer swiftly removed the Nickmercs operator skin from both Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare 2. This decision comes as Activision Blizzard embraces the spirit of Pride Month and reaffirms its commitment to inclusivity within the gaming community.
The community was taken aback when CharlieIntel, a notable Call of Duty updates account, tweeted about the removal of the Nickmercs bundle from the Warzone and Modern Warfare 2 store. Activision Blizzard’s official Twitter account responded promptly, stating, “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.”
The “recent events” referred to an exchange between Nickmercs and esports commentator Chris Puckett. Puckett had shared a tweet expressing support for LGBTQ+ activists during a school board meeting in California, where a fight had broken out between LGBTQ+ activists and anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups. In response, Nickmercs made a comment that appeared to dismiss the importance of LGBTQ+ rights, stating, “They should leave little children alone. That’s the real issue.”
While Nickmercs’ remarks may have seemed innocuous on the surface, they perpetuate a dangerous and false narrative often used by right-wing individuals to undermine LGBTQ+ acceptance. By equating any kind of LGBTQ+ acknowledgment or support with a threat to children, these individuals seek to demonize and restrict queer behavior legislatively.
The tactics employed by these homophobes aim to frame queer expression as a form of “grooming” children, making them vulnerable to conversion or sexual assault. This rhetoric has led to discriminatory policies such as drag performance bans, attempts to restrict access to gender-affirming care, and book bans targeting LGBTQ+ literature.
However, research shows that these efforts do little to protect children. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, the leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States is guns, not LGBTQ+ acceptance. Nickmercs, known for his love of , often discusses virtual firearms rather than real-life weapons on his social media platforms.
Activision Blizzard’s decision to remove the Nickmercs operator skin serves as a powerful statement against homophobia and affirms their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive gaming environment. By taking action against offensive comments, the game developer shows that it prioritizes the well-being of its players and embraces the principles of equality and respect.
In conclusion, Activision Blizzard’s swift response to Nickmercs’ homophobic comments sets a positive example for the gaming industry. By removing his operator skin, the company sends a clear message that hate speech will not be tolerated within the gaming community. As Pride Month continues, it is crucial for all individuals and organizations to stand up against discrimination and work towards fostering an inclusive and accepting environment for everyone.