Hearthstone pro player Ng Wai Chung, also known as ‘Blitzchung’, appeared in post-match interview wearing a gas mask and goggles that evoked the ongoing protests in his home of Hong Kong. Blitzchung called for the liberation of Hong Kong, and in response Blizzard has suspended the player, withheld his prize money, and ceased working with the two casters involved in the segment.
Blizzard’s action following the interview’s reference toward the Hong Kong protests has proven unpopular among the company’s fans worldwide. At the time of this story, every single post on the front page of the Hearthstone subreddit is either a threat to quit Hearthstone or a broader condemnation of Blizzard. The Blizzard subreddit quietly went private today, presumably in response to the controversy.
On Twitter, players have launched a ‘BoycottBlizzard’ hashtag, suggesting that the company’s action against Blitzchung violates its own publicly-stated values. On the official Blizzard website, the company promises to “think globally” and that “every voice matters.” Those slogans also appear on a statue display outside the company’s office
It seems some employees at Blizzard have quietly protested by covering up that display.
Blitzchung tells IGN that “I expected the decision by Blizzard, I think it’s unfair, but I do respect their decision. I’m not [regretful] of what I said.”
In an earlier statement to Inven Global, Blitzchung said “As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention… It could cause me a lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”
- Blizzard employees stage a walkout, calling the Hong Kong ban “appalling but not surprising”
- Activision Blizzard Stock Recovers From Hong Kong Fallout
- Blitzchung has “no idea” if he’ll return to competitive Hearthstone
- Blizzard says “China had no influence” on Hong Kong protest punishments
- Blizzard cancels major Overwatch event amid Hong Kong uproar