Controversy surrounds Blizzard's ban of Blitzchung
The Hearthstone pro and two casters were banned over a conversation about Hong Kong protests in Grandmasters.
Ng 'Blitzchung' Wai Chung is a professional Hearthstone player from Hong Kong, and there has been a lot of discussion around the player this week, as he showed support for the current Hong Kong protesters during a recent post-match interview, as shared by InvenGlobal.
"As you know there are serious protests in my country now," Blitzchung said in a statement to InvenGlobal. "My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention. I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn't focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue."
Yesterday Blizzard announced that actions would be taken regarding the messages delivered, calling it a "competition rule violation" involving Blitzchung and two casters, resulting in the VOD replay being removed. The following rule is set to be relevant:
"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 has been removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizes from Season 2, also becoming ineligible to compete for 12 months, until October 5 next year. Blizzard will also "cease working with both casters" too, and emphasises "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."
As expected this caused a huge stir online, and plenty have been voicing their opinions on the decision given the volatility of the protests going on right now.