Call of Duty removes streamer’s skin after homophobic comments

The Nickmercs operator skin has been removed from the Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone shop due to Nickmercs making homophobic comments. Activision Blizzard tweeted about the skin’s removal after a popular Call of Duty updates account remarked on it.

“It appears Activision has removed the Nickmercs bundle from the Warzone and MWII store this evening,” tweeted CharlieIntel. The official Call of Duty twitter account responded, “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.”

“Recent events” references an exchange the Faze Clan streamer had with esports commentator Chris Puckett, who was remarking on a fight that broke out between LGBTQ+ activists and anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups at a school board meeting in California.

“Americans are in a sad place right now,” Puckett tweeted. “Let people love who they love and live your own life.”

The school board meeting was to allegedly vote on recognizing June as Pride month.

Though Nickmercs’ comments might seem innocuous, he is actually repeating a right-wing, homophobic talking point that erroneously and dangerously equates any kind of LGBTQ+ acceptance or acknowledgment as an existential threat to children. Homophobes, as a part of a reactionary backlash to the greater visibility of queer and trans people, are returning to an age-old tactic by which they try to reframe any kind of queer expression as “grooming” children — making them vulnerable to “conversion” or sexual assault.

In reality, this behavior does little to further the goal of protecting children as its perpetrators would have people believe. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, the No. 1 killer of adolescents is guns. A sampling of Nickmercs recent tweets reveals the only guns he talks about are the ones in Call of Duty.