Blizzard criticized for response to Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy

Blizzard Entertainment

President of Blizzard Entertainment, J. Allen Brack, has issued a statement in response to the controversial ban given to Ng Wai ‘Blitzchung’ Chung and two popular Hearthstone casters following Hong Kong protests during a GrandMasters tournament. However, the statement has not been well-received among the Hearthstone community.

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Blitzchung left the shoutcasters and spectators stunned after making post-victory comments which supported the current political protests that are happening in Hong Kong, during an official Hearthstone GrandMasters broadcast on October 6. 

Following Chung’s statement of: “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times”, the Hearthstone player received a year–long ban and was stripped of his season earnings to-date — sparking reprisal from within the Hearthstone community.

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Blizzard EntertainmentThe Hong Kong native removed his gas mask to make the comments.
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Amid the backlash that ensued, the community rallied to support Chung, with #BoycottBlizzard trending on social media in the days after the ban was handed out. 

Now, after days of silence, J. Allen Brack has written an open letter on Blizzard’s official website (in response to the controversial ban), published on October 12. 

The statement reveals the rationale behind Blitzchung’s ban, alongside reflecting on what the game developer could have done better and what they will do moving forward to appropriately handle the situation.

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Why was Blitzhung banned?

According to the open letter, Brack stated that “blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong — in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action.”

Moreover, the Blizzard President continued to stipulate that the content of the message was not the reason behind Chung’s ban: “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.”

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Blizzard criticized for statement

The Hearthstone community have come out in full force on social media to express their disproval of Brack’s statement. One fan questioned the response: “Do you guys even know what an apology is?”

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While others have remained skeptical over the sincerity of the statement, doubting the sentiment behind Brack’s words.

Ex-Blizzard game designer, Mark Kern, explained that Blizzard’s timing of the post (before the weekend and after work hours) is an attempt to conceal the story: “They want to bury this. Never forget.”

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Blizzard reflecting and moving forward

After listening to the Hearthstone community, Brack explained that they have reflected on their decision and in hindsight, their process “wasn’t adequate, and [they] reacted too quickly.”

Thus, the prohibition that was initially served to both casters and Blitzchung has been reduced to six months; alongside Chung’s season earning being reinstated. 

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Given the scale and enormity of Blizzard’s actions, those behind Chung’s protest will be eager to hear his views after his ban reduction. Stay tuned into Dexerto for the latest, as the situation unfolds.