A superstar video game was punished for a tweet suggesting that Pride Month should not be celebrated in public schools or influence young children.
Nick Kolcheff, known as “Nickmercs,” is one of the best players in “Call of Duty,” the largely successful first-person shooter video game. Kolcheff is the most-watched “Call of Duty” gamer on Twitch, a video game streaming platform. He has nearly 7 million Twitch followers.
“Content revenue on his videos and livestreams, a platform exclusivity deal, and a growing list of brand sponsorships added up to $15 million for him in 2022,” Forbes said of Kolcheff.
Kolcheff’s influence in the “Call of Duty” community was so vast that the video game’s publisher, Activision, awarded the gamer his own in-game “skin,” marking the first time that “Call of Duty” featured a skin honoring a professional video game player.
Nickmercs’ operator skin was recently removed from the “Call of Duty” store after the gamer tweeted about “leaving children alone” regarding Pride Month.
Kolcheff recently responded to a tweet about a clash between protesters outside a Los Angeles County school district building, where board members began voting to determine if schools should recognize June as Pride Month.
Demonstrators called for the educators to “Leave our kids alone,” referencing a push to incorporate the LGBT agenda in schools. Despite the protests, the school board unanimously voted to recognize June as Pride Month. Video footage shows violence during the protest outside the Glendale Unified School District headquarters. Several individuals were arrested.
Chris Puckett, an Esports broadcaster, posted a video of the commotion at the school board on Twitter. Kolcheff responded to the tweet, saying, “They should leave little children alone. That’s the real issue.”
They should leave little children alone. That’s the real issue.
— FaZe Nickmercs (@NICKMERCS) June 7, 2023
A day after the tweet, the official “Call of Duty” Twitter account announced that Nickmercs’ skin was removed.
“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 tweet read.
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.
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) June 9, 2023
“I didn’t mean to upset anybody, I know that I did. I’m not apologizing about the tweet, because I don’t feel like it’s wrong. I’m going to stand by what I said, I’m not going to delete the tweet I just want to make sure everyone understands the point I was trying to make by tweeting my response,” Kolcheff said, according to Fox News.
To support Kolcheff, hundreds of video game players have called to boycott “Call of Duty.”
— Vara Dark (@Vara_Dark) June 9, 2023
Another prominent “Call of Duty” gamer, who goes by the name “Dr. Disrespect,” called “Call of Duty’s” decision “pathetic,” and demanded that Nickmercs’ bundle be reinstated and that Activision apologize to Kolcheff. Dr. Disrespect pledged not to play “Call of Duty” until such actions are taken.
Activision has openly celebrated Pride Month. The video game company’s official Twitter account has only made two posts in June 2023 – one about Pride Month and the other about the Los Angeles Pride Parade.
Activision embraces the beauty and strength of diversity, equality, and unity. We aim to foster an inclusive, supportive, and judgment-free environment.
— Activision (@Activision) June 8, 2023
Join us in celebrating the power of #Pride 🌈
Activision is excited to be a part of the Los Angeles, Pride Parade on June 11th.
If you see our float during the parade route, be sure to say hello and share your own stories of pride and acceptance. See you there! 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/uqozALIE9H
— Activision (@Activision) June 9, 2023
The Activision Blizzard, Inc. website praises the company’s 2022 environmental, social, and governance report, “We are excited to share key highlights of our ESG efforts across this website.”
Activision offers network groups for employees who are Asian Pacific Islanders, Black, “LatinX,” LGBT, indigenous and aboriginal, women, and veterans.