Why poke the Imperium? Because Squats do not forgive or forget, but prefer to relive the insults and fuel the grudge-engines. Thus:
White Dwarf 240 (January 2000)
This is the issue that spawned forth the lies about the extinction of the Squats, in the Mailbox page (p. 97). The letter and response are below.
Letter from Concerned Squats Commander
“WE WANT SQUATS!
Sorry, I just assumed this was how most people have been reacting since the Squats were dropped from the 40K universe. This race was the reason I joined the Games Workshop family in the first place. If I was so impatient back in mid-2nd edition and started collecting my second choice army (Space Marines), I would have quickly lost interest and never became the obsessed freak over the game that I am today.
The history and characteristics of the Squats are interesting and unique in the 40K universe. In the 2nd edition rules they were a mix of Orks, Imperial Guard, and Space Marines... with a grudge! The honor, toughness, and excellent weaponry (I would have loved to see a Mole Mortar in action) were the big draws to this under-appreciated army. Also, something very cool about the 40K universe was the fact that it was a sci-fi mirror of the Fantasy world. Nearly every race from Fantasy had its high-tech cousins represented in the 'far, distant future', and that's how the people liked it! Would you even consider robbing the Fantasy world of Dwarfs. With their wonderful weapons and bitter-sweet rivalry with the Elves? I don't think so! Nor should we players of 40K have to do without. Just the humble opinion of one dedicated fan. Tim Gutierrez”
Response from Games Workshop
“Would you believe they were all eaten by the Tyranid invasion? Or, due to the Squats biker life style, everyone of the was arrested for disturbing the peace and sacrificed to the Emperor. Where do you think they get all of those souls anyway? All kidding aside, it doesn't seem likely the Squats will ever again see the light of day. When they were out they never seemed very popular, showed up at our stores, or tournaments, and didn't sell on top of all that [Note that this claim is directly contradicted by Jervis Johnson in 2002]. Their look was really outdated compared to the hundreds of other great Warhammer 40,000 models. Don't send us hate mail, it's just the cold hard facts of the 41st Millennium.”
Commentary from Hungry Ghosts
Would you believe you sound like a huge dick? All kidding aside, this is a flippant and disrespectful response to a devoted and enthusiastic customer about a favorite product. Comments like this are why there is so much Internet Hate for Games Workshop.
But let's make it clear: the “Eaten by Tyranids” comment is not Warhammer 40K Canon. It is just an asinine comment by an unidentified GW employee who does not understand:
1. Squats (very few of them have a Biker lifestyle, and the comment about the lifestyle is insulting to actual real world human bikers),
2. GW's business (Squats were not selling poorly),
3. or customer service (the sarcastic tone of the response).
Let us also make it clear: Based on our source above, there is an equal chance that “The Emperor Ate All The Squats” as “The Tyranids Ate All The Squats”.