Hearthstone pro Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai has been punished by Blizzard Entertainment for an interview in which he expressed support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Following the statements made during an interview in the Blizzard-run GrandMasters tournament, Blitzchung has been suspended from professional play for one year, and his prize winnings in the event have been withheld.
Meanwhile, two casters who were also involved in the interview have been fired from the broadcast.
The interview saw Blitzchung, who himself is from Hong Kong, wearing a mask and stating: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” while the casters in question ducked behind their desk. The official VoD of the moment has since been deleted, but a clip of the moment can be seen below.
— :jack_o_lantern: Inven Global :jack_o_lantern: (@InvenGlobal) October 6, 2019
Blizzard’s official ruling on the matter states that the interview breaks a tournament rule which dictates that players may not take any action that could damage Blizzard’s image. From Section 6.1 (o) of the rulebook:
“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.”
Blitzchung’s competitive suspension will expire on October 5, 2020. Blizzard also issued a warning to other players in Blizzard tournaments regarding following the rules.
“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.”