Blizzard kicks Hearthstone pro out of tournament for his pro-Hong Kong comments

Following a call to “liberate Hong Kong,” Blizzard is removing pro-Hearthstone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai from gaming tournament Heathstone Grandmasters.

Blizzard acted quickly in response to a post-match interview blitzchung gave, removing him from Grandmasters and suspending him for a year. The video game developer also cut ties with the streamers involved in the blitzchung interview. In response to his punishment, blitzchung doubled down on his statement, saying he thinks it’s his “duty to say something about the issue.”

The interview in question occurred during the last weekend of Hearthstone Grandmasters’ regular season. Blitzchung donned a gasmask before appearing on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream, where he made immediate waves with his statement. In the moments before the stream was cut off, blitzchung shouted “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age.” The interviewers, apparently unprepared for blitzchung’s statement,  momentarily ducked beneath the desk following his words. Moments later, the stream ended.

https://twitter.com/InvenGlobal/status/1180954142396710912

Following his proclamation, blitzchung was promptly removed from Hearthstone Grandmasters, and blocked from competing for the next 12 months. Blitzchung’s earnings from Grandmasters season 2 have also been rescinded, and they cut ties with the casters involved in the interview. This is despite their apparent attempt to separate themselves from blitzchung’s statement.

China company Tencent Holdings Ltd. owns a 4.9% Blizzard stake, as Marketwatch notes.

Immediately following the interview, Blizzard removed the video and released a statement on the matter. In it, the company explains that blitzchung supposedly violated the 2019 Grandmasters rules. “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’s image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies,” Blizzard’s statement reads.

Following the incident, blitzchung doubled down on his stance. “As you know there are serious protests in my country now,” blitzchung told Inven Global. “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.”

In recent months, Hong Kong has remained a hot-button issue in the news. The region has been in the spotlight thanks to massive protests in response to China’s increasing control over the country.

Blitzchung did not wish to comment further to the Daily Dot at this time. Blizzard has not yet responded to a request for comment.

This story has been updated.

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H/T PC Gamer

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.