Blizzard suspends Hearthstone player for ‘liberate Hong Kong’ statement

Blizzard Entertainment has suspended Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai, a Hong Kong–based mostly Hearthstone professional, from Hearthstone Grandmasters for utilizing his post-game interview on Oct. 6 to help protesters demonstrating in Hong Kong. The casters internet hosting the interview — each of whom tried to cover their faces throughout Chung’s statement — had been additionally faraway from their positions.

Chung appeared on the Taiwanese Hearthstone broadcast sporting a fuel masks and goggles following a win towards South Korean player Jang “DawN” Hyun Jae. Chung stated, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” a slogan related to the protests. The broadcast shortly lower away from the interview and a video of the stream was later pulled offline. The English broadcast of the day’s Hearthstone matches stays obtainable, although the interview section was not aired.

In a ruling on Oct. 8, Blizzard stated Chung’s statement violated event guidelines — particularly, a rule towards doing something that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard’s image.”

Chung has been faraway from the Hearthstone Grandmasters program, and the $3,000 he earned this season has been knocked all the way down to zero. Blizzard additionally banned the player from collaborating in Hearthstone esports for one yr.

“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,” Blizzard stated in a statement.

Chung instructed Polygon on Oct. 7 that “there will definitely be negative consequences” for expressing help for Hong Kong, noting that Chinese netizens had been calling for punishment from Blizzard. He stated he wished to “contribute to the protest [Hong Kong is] having right now. Not only to grab more attention, but also telling some of the protesters who were watching the stream that I’m on their side. I have got a lot of supportive messages from my local community, so I’m glad that my statements became a kind of energy for them.”

Protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing since June, following proposed amendments to an extradition regulation within the area. (The amendments have since been suspended.) Demands from demonstrators have expanded to incorporate “universal suffrage” and an investigation into Hong Kong’s police power, based on Vox. The Hong Kong authorities issued a ban on face masks — just like the one Chung wore on display — “in an attempt to crack down on the months-long protest movement that’s gotten increasingly tense in recent weeks,” Vox reported. Demonstrators put on face masks to guard themselves from tear fuel utilized by the police, however they’ve additionally develop into an emblem of the protests.

This week, Houston Rockets normal supervisor Daryl Morey has been underneath hearth for tweeting in help of the Hong Kong protests. Chinese media firm Tencent, which has the rights to stream NBA digitally in China, “temporarily suspended” its preseason NBA broadcast, based on CNBC. The firm beforehand stated it might not stream Houston Rockets video games. Tencent has a 4.9 p.c stake in Activision Blizzard, in addition to different online game corporations.

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