Activision Blizzard has been hauled over the coals by its fans in the wake of its Hong Kong controversy, culminating in a ‘#BoycottBlizzard’ trend across social media channels (via IGN).
Hearthstone pro Ng Wai ‘Blitzchung’ Chung yelled, ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!’ in a post-match interview streamed on the official Blizzard Taiwan Twitch channel. Soon after, all VODs of the third day of the Grandmasters tournaments had been deleted from the channel, and Blizzard responded with an official statement. Blitzchung’s comments violated the rules of the competition and were deemed to be ‘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.’
As such, Blizzard has removed Blitzchung from Grandmasters, pulled his prize money, and banned him from Hearthstone for 12 months. Additionally, the two casters involved in his interview have been sacked. Blitzschung justified his comment to Polygon in a separate statement, and said he wanted to draw attention to the situation in Hong Kong. ‘Not only to grab more attention, but also telling some of the protesters who were watching the stream that I’m on their side,’ he continued. ‘But this is what I expected to happen. There are always people who disagree with your view.’
Plenty of people disagree with Blizzard’s view, however. Taking a look at the #BoycottBlizzard hashtag on Twitter, fans have mobilised and are cancelling Battle.net accounts, refunding games, and encouraging others to do the same. The Blizzard subreddit has been closed by its moderators, so the community has chosen to voice their support for Blitzschung and the Hong Kong protesters elsewhere.