Blizzard Entertainment announced on Friday their intention to reduce the penalties levied against Hearthstone player blitzchung, who spoke out on a live broadcast about the current situation in Hong Kong. They also reiterated their stance against esports competitors using the platform for “divisive social or political views”. Blitzchung’s penalties reduced after there was a severe backlash from Hearthstone fans.
Blitzchung’s penalties reduced: Hearthstone pro Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung was originally banned by Blizzard for one year after calling for the liberation of Hong Kong during a live stream and his prize money for his victory at the Grandmasters was confiscated causing widespread unrest amongst Hearthstone and esports fans alike. Blizzard confirmed this week however that Hong Kong-based Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai will receive his $10,000 in prize money, a reversal of Blizzard’s previous position.
Blizzard also reduced blitzchung’s ban from esports competitions from one year to six months, while two casters on the broadcast, originally fired by Blizzard for encouraging blitzchung’s statements, had their punishments reduced to ‘mere’ six-month suspensions.
Everyone in esports is aware of blitzchung’s actions: while speaking on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream after his victory in the Grandmasters on Sunday, he donned a gas mask and goggles, a reference to what Hong Kong protestors wear to protect their identities, and repeated a slogan that is associated with those protesting the actions of the Chinese government in the area: “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!”
“We interview competitors who are at the top of their craft to share how they feel. We want to experience that moment with them. Hearing their excitement is a powerful way to bring us together. Over the weekend, blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong … in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action” said Blizzard president J. Allen Brack on Friday in an official statement made on the company’s website.
He went on to add: “We strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.”
“I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision,” Brack stated. “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.”
That is it for today’s latest esport news – thank you for stopping by at Esportsnow.bet, we hope you have enjoyed your read.