Blizzard Suspends Pro Hearthstone Player for Comment Supporting Hong Kong Protests

Blizzard suspended pro hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for making a comment supporting the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during an interview. They even went as far as to rescind all his prize money, AND completely cut ties with the two people interviewing him. This is an extremely bad look for Blizzard, and I honestly hope the whole thing gets way more attention.

Blizzard said those involved were in violation of their terribly vague and questionable policy regarding any players making a comment that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image”. The whole thing is alarming and disappointing, and I’m really looking forward to a terrible corporate-speak statement getting released defending their decision to stifle people’s right to demand democracy and autonomy. More context for those curious:

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Excited for the free speech brigade to bring the hammer down on Blizzard like they did for ‘checks notes’ changing the way Tracer’s butt looked in that one pose.

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The suspension is sad to see but also completely unsurprising. Blizzard and Activision are of course happy to put themselves in line with other sport arbiters on suppressing human rights protests. And they should fuck right off for that.

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If you really feel strongly about this topic I would encourage you to write to:

ir@activisionblizzard.com

The investor relations function is one that is likely very cut off from the press function and might not be aware of what is going on. They typically communicate with analyst, investors, and the financial media. 100% this is something that might get more attention because of the NBA issues.

That is all

Man, I love HS. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time and money on it, but I am 100% out. I know the subreddit is having a mass exodus right now, and I’m curious to see how big HS personalities react to this news.

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Wow, I can’t believe a wealthy corporation loves repressive authoritarianism

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I get this response, I really do. But when I think about the speed and severity of the action they took here against these people, I am still a little surprised. This is so blatantly and shamelessly out of line. The dude made a single comment on a stream, two interviewers proceeded to literally physically duck away from the camera and cut to break, and Blizz went ahead and penalized them all without mercy. They didn’t even really wait to consider the backlash, and now the whole thing does seem to be sort of blowing up.

Alright so there’s also a ton of people mentioning that multiple large reddit threads about the subject have disappeared, and the blizzard subreddit has been locked. What a mess.

Well, i mean guess who is a big investor in Reddit? Our favorite Chinese business Media(?) investor TenCent.

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I imagine it is easier at this point to count the things on Earth that tencent does not have a stake in

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Love 2 support fascist state capitalist country because fuck it we want that money!

Gotta be slightly suspicious of the outrage machine on this one. Since it is strangely reversed from Colin Kaepernick’s outrage machine just three years ago. Did we all suddenly make a huge stride towards human rights? Fuck no, China is just an easier authoritarian target than our good honest American authoritarianism.

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Western audiences (including myself) are divorced enough from those cultures and the political dynamics between them that it’s easy to drill down to what seems like a simple case of a smaller nation having their rights undermined by a more dominant one.

A person who has been immersed in a particular culture for long enough can potentially have their judgment swayed by societal base assumptions and/or nationalistic impulse, even on cases like Kaepernick’s where (in my view) there should be a clear moral imperative to support his act of protest.

I wouldn’t read this situation as a sign of gamers becoming more culturally aware, but a rare scenario where they’re directing outrage at the right targets.

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Waypoint: Stop Turning Overwatch Characters Into Cops
Blizzard: Hmmm, what if we did the opposite

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Anti-Chinese sentiment has always been around and these spikes of it makes me feel pretty unsafe as an East Asian living in the states. We’re usually not part of the political discourse unless if it’s for talking points to rally everyone against.

I’m glad Austin mentioned there are layers to the protests and the hypocrisy of some folks showing support for HK but are against protests happening in America. Should you fight a shitty government? Yeah do it. Just understand there are a lot of racists are using this as an opportunity to stir the pot. Like you think 420kekGamerMale gives a shit about HK citizens?

Anyway I just hope no one decides to shoot up a China Town or whatever

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My fear is how many alt-right figureheads have already started to hijack this topic for crass self-interest in expanding their influence, and as a springboard for poisonous political rhetoric (as well as their existing axes to grind with Blizzard for frivolous consumerist grievances).

Even if they were part of this movement in good faith, theirs and our goals are not the same. To them this is just bad actors in an otherwise fair system, when in reality this is the natural conclusion of capitalism’s codependent relationship with authoritarianism.

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Two relevant developments:

First, legendary CCG player Brian Kibler has announced he is stepping down from both commentating (being one of the major commentators for the game’s competitive scene) and streaming Hearthstone on his channel and officially for Blizzard.

Sure, this marks a perfect time for him to transition back into Magic with Arena (given that pro Magic is where he made a name for himself over the last two decades), but this is undoubtedly a huge hit to both Hearthstone competitively and as a streaming game. He has always been a knowledgeable and respected player, but his commentating is just a cut above others Blizzard uses, who mostly come from commentating other games rather than a CCG background.

Honestly this is not the type of integrity that is common, expected, or, to my knowledge, really ever has been seen in eSports. This is the most I’ve respected a competitive player dropping a game in protest since the face of competitive Catherine, Dacidbro, dropped the game in response to Catherine: Full Body’s rampant transphobia.

EDIT: As mentioned below, Kibler stopping streaming the game was never mentioned in his official statement. That being said, it does correspond with him starting to stream MtG Arena.

Second is that, in a show of just yet another show of ingenuity from Hong Kong protestors,Mei from Overwatch is quickly becoming the go-to mascot for the Hong Kong protests in hopes to get “#Overwatch banned in China like Pooh did”. It adds fuel to the fire against Blizzard, but also takes away the only Chinese character that Blizzard has from anyone against the protests.

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A note about Kibler is that his original post (unless I’m misreading it or if he has expanded on it elsewhere) does not make it clear that he has quit streaming Hearthstone, just that he won’t be commenting the upcoming event.

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Okay, I read a few different sources, but never his entire message itself.

Guess some places stretched the truth a bit. Will edit the post to reflect that.

Damn, I knew the integrity on display was way too good for eSports :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yeah during the omnistone (a show where him and others talk about hearthstone)episode where they discussed it his mods were deleting peoples comments that said stuff like “I stand with hong kong” and his overall statement is more of “its okay if they punished him due to making political comments but they went too far” so it isn’t really as good as first glance.
Also to note he played hearthstone today

but ftr ThatsAdmirable another streamer also quit grandmasters also quit casting Grandmasters (his statement here) https://twitter.com/ThatsAdmirable/status/1182429866576138240?s=20

heres a statment from another caster Sottle who isn’t going to quit casting but supports blitzchung

and a statement from a top hearthstone personality, kripparian
https://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sr1h75

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