Blizzard ban pro Hearthstone player over support of Hong Kong protests


After Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a picture signaling support for protesters in Hong Kong, various Chinese sponsors and partners broke relations with the team.

Blitzchung is from Hong Kong where protesters routinely hide their faces and conceal their identities for fear of reprisal from the Chinese communists on the mainland.

Video game producer Blizzard is facing a boycott after removing a Hearthstone player from its Grandmasters tournament who called for the "liberation" of Hong Kong in a post-game stream and zeroing out his prize money.

Blizzard has a set of eight "core values" that the company says "represent the principles and beliefs that have guided our company throughout the years". Blizzard will also not work with the two casters in the video anymore.

But the severity and speed of the decision has infuriated numerous company's customers, particularly because the protesters' causes encompass the United States' most closely held and deeply felt ethical values: freedom of speech and democracy.

Blizzard have apparently stopped working with the two casters due to the way they egged Blitzchung on.

The ban came days before Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey caused an global stir by expressing similar support for the protesters who have been demonstrating for four straight months.

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The specific rule he violated is one which forbids competitors from doing anything that "brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image".

"I know what my action on stream means", the statement concluded.

Despite that, Blizzard finished its ruling by stating "While we stand by one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules".

Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters Season 2.

The Chinese government is a totalitarian regime that actively censors any form of dissent.

As part of the fallout of that controversy, Tencent - which is a media partner of the National Basketball Association in China with a deal worth $1.5 billion - said they won't be airing Rockets games. "But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue". Chinese tech giant Tencent's minority stake (under 4.9 percent) in Activision Blizzard doesn't help public perception, even if it's not necessarily a factor. At Blizzard headquarters, anonymous employees have covered up decor that reads "think globally" and "every voice matters".

"South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were also targeted by the Chinese government after an episode of the satirical cartoon last week lampooned self-censorship by Hollywood studios to gain access to China's vast consumer market.