Blizzard has banned Pro Hearthstone player for support of Hong Kong’s latest demonstrations.

LEGEND67

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During the live stream of Hearthstone tournament, professional e-sport player Blitzchung used the moment to speak out in support of the protests in Hong Kong. He also wore a gas mask and goggles like protestors. Chung shouted in Chinese, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age.” This statement was followed by the stream cutdown and taking measures towards the player.

Blizzard banned Blitzchung from Hearthstone competition games for one year and forced to give back his tournament $10,000 winnings. The reason for the decision was a violation of Section 6.1 of the tournament’s rules, which prohibits players from doing anything that “offends a portion or group of the public.”

“There are serious protests in my country now,” Blitzchung said, “My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention.”

Yet there are no official statements from the company, but fans and some of Blizzard employees are massively condemning actions taken against the player. #BoycotBlizzard is one of the most trending hashtags on the internet right now. Blizzard has deleted the video from its services and ignores requests to comment on the situation. Meanwhile, Blizzard customers are boycotting the corporation by canceling subscriptions and deleting games, until Blizzard allows Blitzchung to play again, give back his prize money and apologize for their actions.

A bold example of how corporations use bifacial attitude against their own players, limiting freedom of speech in the first place, which puts some games under the censorship.
 

cm2

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Blizzard commented on the matter, read from kotaku:

Blizzard president J. Allen Brack explained that while Blizzard tries to uphold company values that focus on diversity and global thinking, it also wants to keep esports events focused on games. Blitzchung broke a rule, but Brack insists that the specific words he said weren’t the issue.

“The specific views expressed by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made,” wrote Brack. “I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took. If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same.”

Brack went on to say that, since Blitzchung did not break any rules while playing the actual game, he’ll get to collect his prize money after all. However, he’ll still be suspended. Now, though, the suspension is six months instead of a year.

“We now believe he should receive his prizing,” said Brack. “We understand that for some this is not about the prize, and perhaps for others it is disrespectful to even discuss it. That is not our intention. But playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we think about the suspension, six months for blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses.” Same goes for the commentators who were on duty at the time; their suspension, too, has been reduced to six months.

“Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views,” said Brack. “One of our goals at Blizzard is to make sure that every player, everywhere in the world, regardless of political views, religious beliefs, race, gender, or any other consideration always feels safe and welcome both competing in and playing our games.”
 

Dark Young Link

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It is kinda of crappy what happened, however Blizzard has a rule against talking about politics in general. They were just enforcing the rule. I mean, if the guy went in knowing he broke a rule, then he shouldn't have been surprised by what happened. However, I am proud of him for doing it. I just don't think Blizzard should get so much backlash from it.
 

Demon_Skeith

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called it: Protests Are Coming To BlizzCon In The Wake Of Blizzard's Hong Kong Fiasco

It is kinda of crappy what happened, however Blizzard has a rule against talking about politics in general. They were just enforcing the rule. I mean, if the guy went in knowing he broke a rule, then he shouldn't have been surprised by what happened. However, I am proud of him for doing it. I just don't think Blizzard should get so much backlash from it.
This honestly should be a minor thing, but people are saying Blizzard is censoring free speech, which just turns it into a huge mess.
 

Dark Young Link

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called it: Protests Are Coming To BlizzCon In The Wake Of Blizzard's Hong Kong Fiasco



This honestly should be a minor thing, but people are saying Blizzard is censoring free speech, which just turns it into a huge mess.
The only way I would be behind this is if an American player spoke out against Trump, I chose him because he's generally disliked and I haven't really been paying attention to politics to know anyone else relevant, and they didn't do anything about it. Then it would show a form of biasedness that I wouldn't be okay with. BlizzCon is going to be a huge mess this year.
 

Grungie

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The only way I would be behind this is if an American player spoke out against Trump, I chose him because he's generally disliked and I haven't really been paying attention to politics to know anyone else relevant, and they didn't do anything about it. Then it would show a form of biasedness that I wouldn't be okay with. BlizzCon is going to be a huge mess this year.
Part of the outcry is based off of how China is treating the situation in Hong Kong, and it comes off that Blizzard is supporting the treatment with the banning. What also doesn’t help is that Blizzard is doing this in an untimely fashion, as other companies very recently have also started to implement Chinese demanded censorship in America to continue their business in China.

This is kind of a shitty situation for Blizzard, because not saying anything would jeopardize their future ventures in China, but banning the guy is hurting themselves in America with it looking like they support the treatment of the protestors.

There’s also some suspicion at their tweet explaining this, as someone pointed out that the tweet’s grammar is kind of weird and matches up with how a native Chinese speaker would write in English, but I’m not sure how much of that is tinfoil hat wearing.
 
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