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A few days ago, Activision removed Nickmercs operator skin from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone shop. The developer took action after Nickmercs’ alleged homophobic comments. Activision later tweeted about the removal after @charlieINTEL, a handle dedicated to Call of Duty updates, talked about it.

Call of Duty Nickmercs skin

In response to the tweet, the official Call of Duty handle said, “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.”

Activision confirms the removal of Nickmercs skin in Call of Duty

The event mentioned in the tweet was in reference to an exchange the streamer had with esport commentator Chris Puckett over a fight between an anti-LGBTQ+ group and LGBTQ+ activists at a school board meeting in California.

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Puckett shared another tweet containing a video with the caption “Americans are in a sad place right now. Let people love who they love and live your own life”.

In response, Nickmercs said, “They should leave little children alone. That’s the real issue”.

Puckett lashed back with strings of sentences that attempted to decrypt the hidden meaning in Nickmercs seemingly innocent response.

“Who is this they and what terrible act is everyone afraid of?” Puckett wrote.

The conversation stretched on with comments from both sides of the divide. However, @ExtendedRelease highlighted that the initial post was misleading and that the issue transcends beyond just voting for Pride month. Whether the initial tweet was deceptive or not, Activision obviously thought Nickmercs should never have gotten involved.

Why Activision removed TimTheTatman Call of Duty skin

Days after Activision removed Nickmercs’ skin from Call of Duty, they also removed the skin of another streamer TimTheTatman. However, this time it was the streamer that asked Activision to remove his skin in solidarity with his friend Nickmercs.

In an email to The Verge, Activision spokesperson Neil Wood said, “At Tim’s request, we have removed the TimTheTatman operator bundle from the Modern Warfare II and the Warzone store”.

TimTheTatman request to have his Call of Duty bundle removed

TimTheTatman tweeted on June 11 explaining that Nickmercs has been his long-time friend and that it felt wrong to have his Call of Duty skin in the shop when Nickmercs’ skin was removed. So, to support his friend, he asked that his Call of Duty TimTheTatman bundle be removed.

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In a tweet on Friday, June 9, Nickmercs apologized for any harm his tweet may have caused while also thanking those that stood by him.

“Friends are created in good times, but families are built through adversity,” he tweeted. “Appreciate all of you that have my back, understand my position as a new father & recognize the love I have for all. Ain’t no hate in this heart.”

Developers should reconsider skins based on real people

TimTheTatman skin in Call of Duty

Nickmercs and TimTheTatman skins were added to the May 31 Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Warzone 2 Season 3. At that time it was a delight to fans of the streamers to learn that they could purchase them via in-game store.

The collaboration was widely heralded by Call of Duty fans who called it the next big thing and anticipated more collaboration with other creators. The skins also came with personalized assets featuring custom loadout options like cosmetics and skins and iconic dialogues.

The shattering of the deal less than two weeks after release is a big blow to Activision who must have invested a lot of resources to bring the skins to the public. There are reports that Nickmercs’ fans have started boycotting Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 after the incident.

Blizzard also had to deal with a similar situation. The company had to remove a World of Warcraft NPC after a former employee was involved in a sexual harassment row. They also had to rename an Overwatch character and pulled out a skin developed for an Overwatch League player fingered for sexual assault.

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While creating skins based on fans and celebrities can help developers to expand the popularity of their games and entice fans of the celebrity to make purchases, the outcome can be disastrous if the collaboration ends on a bitter note.

Activision may likely lose more Call of Duty players than they may have gained through the collaboration. Perhaps, developers should spend more time vetting the personality of whoever they want to produce skin for to make sure their ideals align to prevent unprecedented events.

Do you support the taking down of Nickmercs’ Call of Duty comment based on his seemingly innocuous tweet? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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