Hearthstone Grandmasters winner Chung Ng Wai aka Blitzchung was suspended from competition and had his winnings stripped after he called for the liberation of Hong Kong following his victory.
Blitzchung appeared on a Taiwanese broadcast wearing a gas mask after defeating South Korean player Jang “DawN” Hyun Jae. Rod Breslau reports Blitzchung stated, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”
in a post-match Hearthstone Grandmasters winning interview, Hong Kong HS player @blitzchungHS said “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”
in response, Blizzard Taiwan has now deleted the VOD from their official Twitch channel https://t.co/l5lcMu4ULR
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 7, 2019
“As you know, there are serious protests in my country now,” Chung said in a statement to Inven Global. “My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention. I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months that I sometimes couldn’t focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”
Blizzard would suspend Blitzchung from competition and stripped his Hearthstrone winnings.
Breaking: Effective immediately, Blizzard has removed Hong Kong Hearthstone player blitzchung from Hearthstone Grand Masters, rescinded all his prize money, and have suspended him from pro play for one year for his recent interview.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 8, 2019
The statement from Blizzard details Blitzchung violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules Section 6.1 that reads:
“Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.”
Blizzard’s statement continues:
“Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters Season 2. Additionally, Blitzchung is ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019 and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020. We will also cease working with both casters.”
“We’d like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent. 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.”
Twitter user Chua Zhihong explained why Blizzard quit working with the casters writing, “The casters requested/encouraged Blitzchung to say what he said in Mandarin (in case you didn’t understand the clip). They said “Say the eight words, then we’ll end the interview immediately.” Then, they hid under the desk.”
Clarification: the casters requested/encouraged Blitzchung to say what he said in Mandarin (in case you didn’t understand the clip). They said “Say the eight words, then we’ll end the interview immediately.” Then, they hid under the desk.
— Chua Zhihong (@czhihong) October 8, 2019
Hearthstone competitor Gods Unchained promised they would “pay for ALL [Blitzchung’s] lost winnings and a ticket to [their] $500k tournament.” They added, “No player should be punished for their beliefs.”
.@Blizzard_Ent just banned @blitzchungHS and stripped his Hearthstone winnings because they care about money more than freedom. We will pay for ALL his lost winnings and a ticket to our $500k tournament: no player should be punished for their beliefs. #freegaming https://t.co/ONvtkG4x9G
— Gods Unchained (@GodsUnchained) October 8, 2019
Breslau reports that Blizzard has disabled comments on their announcement explaining their decision to ban Blitzchung.
Blizzard has also disabled comments on the news which are normally open, and from scrolling back through hundreds of posts this is the only time they’ve done that
can’t imagine why pic.twitter.com/KvCyLXpmtU
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 8, 2019
It seems all VODs of the third day of Grandmasters have been deleted as well. The Blizzard subreddit has also been set to private.
According to Marketwatch, Chinese media company, Tencent Holdings Ltd, owns a 4.9% stake in Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard’s stock has dipped 1.4% since the stock market opened today.
Blizzard sure does appear to be bending the knee here. For anyone who loves freedom, this should be a disturbing case.
What do you think? Comment below.