We're thrilled to announce the return of GamesBeat Next, hosted in San Francisco this October, where we will explore the theme of "Playing the Edge." Apply to speak here and learn more about sponsorship opportunities here. At the event, we will also announce 25 top game startups as the 2024 Game Changers. Apply or nominate today!

Some fans have started boycotting Call of Duty after Activision removed the virtual skin of popular streamer Nickmercs. The publisher removed his skin bundle after he tweeted about a Pride incident that was interpreted as anti-LGBTQ+.

Nickmercs, (Nick Kolcheff) a celebrity streamer with 15 million followers, got his own skin in Warzone’s Season 3.5 launch on June 1.

The controversial tweet was reply to esports commentator Chris Puckett, who was commenting on a brawl between pro-LGBTQ+ and anti-LGBTQ+ activists. The fight started over a Pride Month controversy at a California school board hearing.

“Americans are in a sad place right now,” Puckett wrote regarding the brawl footage. “Leave Our Kids Alone” t-shirts taking swings at pro-LGBTQ+ activists. “Let people love who they love and live your own life.”


GamesBeat Next 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in San Francisco this October 24-25. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry on latest developments and their take on the future of gaming.

Learn More

“They should leave little children alone,” Kolcheff replied, “That’s the real issue.”

There were comments both in favor and against the removal. Dr. Disrespect, another popular streamer with millions of followers, said he would uninstall Call of Duty in response to Activision removing the skin. Dr. Disrespect, who used to work at Call of Duty developer Sledgehammer Games, has had his own tangles with controversy over the years, and his company is making its own shooter game as well.

Activision removed of the Nickmercs bundle from both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2. The company added, “We are focused on celebrating Pride with our employees and our community.”

In a livestream, Nickmercs said it “wasn’t an anti-gay tweet.” He said the video bothered him as he didn’t think it was a “thing for teachers to talk about.” As new parents, he said that he and his wife “want to be the ones to talk to our kid about things like that.”

Nickmercs is one of gaming’s most recognizable streaming personalities. He entertains a passionate audience of followers. He had no qualms about being outspoken and lobbing some motivational grenades at Activision’s Warzone 2 developers. Nickmercs noted he has been playing competitive Apex Legends more recently as he didn’t feel like Warzone was keeping up on the competitive tournament front.

Nickmercs issued his own new tweet.

It’s not a light matter for Activision to remove the skin for one streamer, as Nickmercs and TimTheTatMan were the only ones given skins so far (see update below). Nickmercs built a reputation for loud and funny streams where he showed amazing skill at the game. He has played Warzone on stream for over 2,500 hours and has recorded 108,000 hours of viewership for the title. His stream peaked at 371,000 concurrent viewers during a 2022 new map reveal stream — the most ever for the franchise. He also won the first-ever Warzone 2 match during Activision’s reveal.

Updated June 11 12:35 – TimtheTatMan has requested Activision to remove his own operator bundle in response to the controversy.

Reports confirm that Activision has honored this request and TimtheTatman’s operator bundle has been removed from Call of Duty.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.