Blizzard Entertainment recent found itself in hot water as it banned a pro Hearthstone player and rescinded his winnings after they he expressed his support for the Hong Kong protests in China.
Wai Chung Ng, better known as “blitzchung,” made his statement during a victory interview, which was in violation of rules “he acknowledged and understood, which is why we took action,” Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said in a statement.
Brack went on to say its decision was not driven by its relationship with its partners in China. “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,” Brack said.
The executive said that Blizzard decides what is and isn’t appropriate during player interviews and want to “keep the focus on the game and on the tournament.” This was the only reason that blitzchung was banned, Brack said in the statement.
“If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same,” Brack said.
Blizzard is standing by their decision to punish the Hearthstone pro but acknowledges their handling of the situation could have been much better.
“We’ve had a chance to pause, to listen to our community, and to reflect on what we could have done better. In hindsight, our process wasn’t adequate, and we reacted too quickly,” Blizzard said.
The suspension blitzchung received has been reduced from one year to six months and he is receiving his prize winnings back. The shoutcasters who were also banned for a year will also get their time reduced.
“With regard to the casters, remember their purpose is to keep the event focused on the tournament. That didn’t happen here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as well,” Brack said.
Blitzchung said in his own statement that he is appreciative for Blizzard reducing his ban and giving back his winnings, while asking them to be more considerate for the casters. He still feels that six months is a bit too long for his liking but also said about his words “I will be more careful on that and express my opinions or show my support to Hong Kong on my personal platforms.”
Blitzchung released his full statement in a twitlonger you can see here.
This situation is definitely not over, as Blizzcon is right around the corner. many more questions will ahve to be answered to quell fans very upset still wiht the way Blizzard handled this situations, especially distrust between Blizzard’s relationship to China in the ordeal.