Lately, there has been an issue that has been the talk of gamers, social media, and Business; the recent ban of Professional Hearthstone Player Ng Wai Chung (Handle name: Blitzchung), what was the reason for the ban? His support for Hong Kong Protestors and their liberation from the Chinese Government.
The incident happened on Sunday, Ng Wai was conducting an interview right after a Grandmasters Match, Blitzchung took off his gas mask and shouted “Liberate Hong Kong! The Revolution of our age!” In protest of China’s recent actions in the region. After he shouted out his support this caused the announcers to hide under their table and cut to commercial immediately, Blizzard issued a statement about the incident and they were not happy with the player’s actions; they began by stating that he will not receive the prize money from the Grandmasters Season 2 and has been removed from the league, also received a one year competitive ban. Meanwhile, the casters who conducted the interview is no longer working for the company, here is the statement from Invenglobal:
“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.
2019 HEARTHSTONE® GRANDMASTERS OFFICIAL COMPETITION RULES v1.4 p.12, Section 6.1 (o)
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.”
Blitzchung’s case has received a lot of attention due to the fact that a portion of the Company is owned by Chinese Investors, this wasn’t the only US Company being scrutinized, the NBA is also under fire for a tweet that supported Hong Kong from Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey. The tweet was quickly taken down and replaced with tweets from NBA players saying how much they loved China.
It makes one wonder, “Why would the US Companies such as Activision-Blizzard and the NBA violate the first amendment rights of their employees (or Players) to please a Foreign Country?“ Some have said to make a quick buck, or afraid to lose business from China, including displeasing their investors and making sure they are kept happy. But this didn’t stop US Lawmakers from weighing in on Blizzard and NBA’s recent International incident:
Epic Games weighed in on the situation involving Blizzard, they recently told Verge that “Epic supports everyone’s right to express their views on politics and human rights. We wouldn’t ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics.” Since the Ban was announced, there have been protests and boycotts against Blizzard, including their stocks taking a dive. What will happen next? Only time will tell, Blizzard will eventually realize that violations of first amendment rights aren’t good for business. -Red
10-11-2019: There has been a development in the recent ban of Pro Player Blitzchung.
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