In the wake of Blizzard suspending Hearthstone Grandmasters winner Chung 'Blitzchung' Ng Wai for supporting Hong Kong in a post-game interview, artist have turned Overwatch’s Mei into a pro-protest symbol.
Most notably, on r/HongKong, Reddit user omegalulit uploaded an edited video of the Overwatch short ‘Rise and Shine’ featuring the Chinese Overwatch hero.
In the short, Mei intercepts a message from Winston calling for the return of the Overwatch organization to help make the world a better place. The edited version of the short includes footage and references to the protests in Hong Kong.
The thread titled “If we are gonna do it, we are gonna do it big: Mei becomes the icon of Hong Kong revolution!” has been upvoted nearly 100,000 times since being posted on Wednesday, October 9.
Other users and artists have joined in on the idea of using Blizzard’s hero for the movement. A couple of skin concepts depict the character as a protester.
A piece by artist Yuumei shows Mei with an umbrella that has the phrase “Free Hong Kong” written on it. Additionally, her robotic friend Snowball wears a hard hat with “Free HK” transcribed.
Another skin shows Mei as a more combative protester with an eyepatch and all. Many protesters in Hong Kong started wearing eyepatches in solidarity with a woman who lost her vision in one eye after a beanbag round fired by police hit her.
In yet another mockup, Mei wears a gas mask similar to the one Blitzchung wore on air when he made his pro-Hong Kong comments.
Blizzard has taken a lot of heat over their decision to suspend Blitzchung for one year and reduce his prize money to $0. The move resulted in a wave of backlash with many Hearthstone players deleting the game.
On October 8, a team of American Hearthstone collegiate competitors defied the company during a live stream by showing a pro-Hong Kong protest sign at the end of a match.
With so many pushing back against the decision, it will be interesting to see how or if this impacts Blizzcon, Blizzard’s flagship annual event.
Dexerto has reached out to Blizzard about the controversial decision, but was directed to their initial statement and told that no further comment would be forthcoming.