Boycott Blizzard is trending on Twitter after Blizzard banned Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung and took away his Grandmaster Season 2 prize money. Blitzchung voiced support for Hong Kong’s protestors during an interview after a Grandmasters match. Blizzard’s decision to ban Blitzchung has led to a call by many to boycott Blizzard.
Blitzchung Was Banned from Blizzard for a Year After Shouting His Support for Hong Kong Protesters During a Live Stream
On Sunday, Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung made his statement of support on the Hearthstone Taiwan stream after his Grandmasters match, InvenGlobal reported. During the interview, he put on a gas mask and yelled: “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our Age!”
Here’s a video of that moment:
When he said that, the interviewers hid under the table for a moment and then they cut to a commercial.
A few hours after the event, Blizzard announced in a statement that while it supported free speech, players agree to abide by esports’ competition official rules.
Blizzard decided to withhold Blitzchung’s prize money and banned him for a year from participating in any tournaments. They also ended the contracts with the two casters who were interviewing him, The Verge reported.
During the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters broadcast over the weekend there was a competition rule violation during a post-match interview, involving Blitzchung and two casters, which resulted in the removal of the match VOD replay.
Upon further review we have found the action has violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules section 6.1 (o) and is individual behavior which does not represent Blizzard or Hearthstone Esports. 6.1 (o) is found below.
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.
Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone Esports and we take tournament rule violations very seriously. After an investigation, we are taking the necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
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 immediately 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.”
Rod Breslau noted on Twitter that Blizzard also deleted the VOD from their official Twitch channel and disabled comments on their decision.
Now Calls to Boycott Blizzard Are Trending
Now calls to boycott Blizzard are trending online.
On top of that, some U.S. Congressmen are criticizing Blizzard’s decision. Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted: “Recognize what’s happening here. People who don’t live in China must either self censor or face dismissal & suspensions. China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in U.S. politics today is gone.”
People who work at Blizzard are unhappy with the decision too. The “Think Globally” and “Every Voice Matters” values at the company were covered up by angry employees.
Some people have said they’re already uninstalling Hearthstone in response.
The topic is also trending on Reddit.
In the r/Games subreddit, the story got 15,000 upvotes and more than 2,000 comments. Here are some posts shared on Reddit about quitting Hearthstone or Blizzard:
Others are taking to the App Store to give low ratings to the game after the decision.
Many people are joining the boycott and canceling their Blizzard accounts.
Meanwhile, Blitzchung has changed his profile to read: “APAC Grandmaster (Banned)” on Twitter.