The internet lashes back at Blizzard for banning Hearthstone pro blitzchung
How it all started
You've probably caught wind of the whole "Blizzard bans blitzchung" fiasco that's making its rounds online. But just in case you haven't, here's a brief recap before we jump straight to the latest developments.
It all started a few days back, when Hearthstone pro player Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung won an important match in the ongoing Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament. He had acceded to a short post-game online interview with two Taiwanese hosts, as was the norm, and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.
However, things got touchy when Ng, a Hong Kong native, openly voiced his support for the pro-democracy movement in the country, going so far as to don a face mask characteristic of the ongoing protests and uttering the slogan "Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our age!". Face masks were recently banned by the Hong Kong government in an attempt to keep the angry protesters off the streets, so it's possible Ng was using it as a way of showing defiance.
Unfortunately, this did not go down well with Blizzard.
In response to Ng's comments, the American video game developer removed him from the tournament and banned him from taking part in any further Hearthstone competitions for a year. This also means that he will lose any winnings earned during Grandmasters Season 2. According to Blizzard, this was a breach of competition rules, which prohibits players from doing anything that "offends a portion or group of the public" or "damages Blizzard's image".
In addition to banning blitzchung, Blizzard also terminated its contract with the two casters who interviewed him, a seemingly heavy-handed move. The duo hid under the table as he expressed support, but one Twitter user claimed that they had egged blitzchung on and encouraged him to make the statement.
Unsurprisingly, many people saw this as Blizzard pandering to China. The company itself is now facing a massive backlash from huge swathes of the internet, and even US lawmakers.