'Hearthstone' Pro Suspended By Blizzard Over Hong Kong Liberation Comments
Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, a pro Hearthstone player from Hong Kong, has been banned by Blizzard from 2019's Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition and all subsequent Hearthstone esports competitions for 12 months. Blizzard has also confirmed that he won't get the prize money he earned during Grandmasters Season 2.
This comes after comments made by Blitzchung over the weekend during a live post-game interview, when the player came out in support of the months-long protests in Hong Kong against the police and government. Wearing a mask similar to the ones worn by the protesters, the Hearthstone pro said "liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our age!"
[BREAKING] Hong Kong Hearthstone player @blitzchungHS calls for liberation of his country in post-game interview:https://t.co/3AgQAaPioj
@Matthieist #Hearthstone pic.twitter.com/DnaMSEaM4g
- :jack_o_lantern: Inven Global :jack_o_lantern: (@InvenGlobal) October 6, 2019
Following the interview, Blizzard announced that Blitzchung was in violation of the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition rules, and handed the above punishment to the player.
Both casters on the stream with Blitzchung at the time have also reportedly lost their contracts with Blizzard, despite immediately cutting to commercial upon hearing the player's comments and literally ducking behind their desks in an effort to distance themselves from what I assume they knew would have severe consequences.
Blizzard specifically cited section 6.1 of the competition rules, which states that "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."
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"Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone esports and we take tournament rule violations very seriously," Blizzard wrote in a blog post confirming Blitzchung's ban.
"We'd like to re-emphasize 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 competition must abide by the official competition rules."
Breaking: Effective immediately, Blizzard has removed Hong Kong Hearthstone player blitzchung from Hearthstone Grand Masters, rescinded all his prize money, and have suspended him from pro play for one year for his recent interview.
Statement below https://t.co/ByI8vrZk1a pic.twitter.com/3h6jKYezMQ
- Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 8, 2019
Blitzchung has since spoken to IGN, telling the publication that he thinks Blizzard's decision is "unfair", but that he respects the company's decision and ultimately doesn't regret what he said.
In a separate statement, Blitzchung said, "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."
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard