Home Tournaments Blizzard Reduces Suspension for Hearthstone Pro, Riot/ESL Issue Statements on Protests

Blizzard Reduces Suspension for Hearthstone Pro, Riot/ESL Issue Statements on Protests

by Andrew Hayward

Mentioned in this article

Update: Three American University (Washington, D.C.) Hearthstone players have received six-month bans from competition for showing a sign supporting the Hong Kong protests and the #BoycottBlizz movement during their on-stream interview during a competition shortly after Blitzchung’s initial suspension.

  • Blizzard has reduced the suspension of a professional Hearthstone player following his comments on Hong Kong liberation during a competitive broadcast.
  • Riot Games asked players and commentators not to comment on political issues during broadcasts, and ESL asked employees not to use its platforms for the same.
  • Hong Kong’s Overwatch World Cup national team has decided to still compete in the upcoming tournament.

Much has happened since Blizzard Entertainment announced the one-year suspension of a Hearthstone pro player early last week, which led to public criticism from politicians, competing game publishers, and members of the competitive community.

On Friday, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack issued a lengthy statement about the situation, suggesting that its initial punishment was too severe. The company will suspend player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for only six months now, and not take away his prize winnings for the Asia Pacific Grandmasters season. Additionally, the broadcast’s commentators will only be suspended for six months, rather than fired indefinitely.

Chung was suspended for donning a facemask and commenting on the movement to liberate Hong Kong from China. In his statement, Brack pushed back against some of the public criticism of Blizzard’s decision, writing, “The specific views expressed by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.”

Following Blizzard’s updated ruling, Chung issued his own statement in response. He wrote that he was “grateful for Blizzard reconsidering their position about my ban,” and that he would be “more careful” in the future to “express my opinions or show my support to Hong Kong on my personal platforms” rather than official broadcasts. However, he said he hopes that Blizzard will reconsider its suspension of the Hearthstone commentators.

Also on Friday, Riot Games’ John Needham, global head of League of Legends esports, issued a statement saying that he has “reminded our casters and pro players” not to comment about politically sensitive subjects during broadcasts. “These topics are often incredibly nuanced, require deep understanding and a willingness to listen, and cannot be fairly represented in the forum our broadcast provides,” he wrote.

Additionally, according to the Hong Kong Free Press, ESL co-CEO Ralf Reichert asked staff not to comment on the situation. A company representative clarified to the site that ESL employees are free to use their personal social media accounts as they please, but that they may not use ESL’s platforms for “personal political statements.”

Amidst the backlash against Blizzard Entertainment, the Overwatch World Cup Team Hong Kong Committee released a statement saying that the news around Chung’s suspension “was very sudden and very jarring.” However, the team decided that it will still compete in the Overwatch World Cup, writing, “We believe that the chance to represent Hong Kong spirit and values on the global stage is too valuable to give up.”

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Comment