By Isaac Chandler
October 15, 2019
After banning Blitzchung last week for speaking out in support of the Hong Kong protests, Blizzard has backtracked a bit on their punishment for the pro-Hearthstone player.
In a statement released to their website late Friday afternoon, Blizzard apologized for the overly forceful punishment dished out to Blitzchung. They announced they would be returning all the earned prize money and reducing his ban from a year to six months.
In the apology, Blizzard noted he would still be banned for breaking their rules on a player promoting their “world view,” stating,
“We interview competitors who are at the top of their craft to share how they feel. We want to experience that moment with them. Hearing their excitement is a powerful way to bring us together.
Over the weekend, Blitzchung used his segment to make a statement about the situation in Hong Kong—in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood, and this is why we took action.
Every Voice Matters, and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.”
The company specifically noted right after that, Blitz’s stance on China was not a factor regarding his ban, nor was the company’s deep relationship with China.
While the statement was meant to clarify Blizzard’s position on the whole situation and work as an appeasement to the community by reducing the sentence, the comments were met with more frustration by the community.
Many pointed out how the article went live so late in the evening. Some accused the company of downplaying the situation by giving people the weekend to digest the statement and venting their anger when social media is least active.
Others noted how hypocritical the punishment still was. Collegiate players who did the same thing were only prevented from giving any more interviews for the rest of the week. It causes some to doubt the claims that Blizzard’s relationship with China had no role in the punishment for Blitzchung.
Anger is still bubbling in the Blizzard communities, and with BlizzCon just around the corner, things are only going to continue to heat up.