The players had waited until the end of their match to hold up a “FREE HONG KONG / BOYCOTT BLIZZ” sign that was broadcast for a few seconds before the stream director cut away. The protest was clearly intended in support of pro Hearthstone esports player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung, whom Blizzard banned along with two Taiwanese commentators earlier this week over a similar pro-Hong Kong outburst during a post-match interview in Taiwan. Blizzard also clawed back $10K in tournament winnings from Ng.
According to Rod Breslau, the esports journalist who’d originally broken that news, Blizzard isn’t going to do anything about the American University team’s stunt, which if you think about it was exactly the point the students were trying to make – that the rules are being arbitrarily and politically enforced and Blizzard’s position was untenable.
So the whole team quit the season, just like that.
“Blizzard/TeSPA has decided not to penalize American University for holding up their sign and has scheduled their next match, but AU has decided to forfeit the match and the season, saying it is hypocritical for Blizzard to punish blitzchung but not them.” He then added, “Blizzard taking one L after another.”
Here was original stream during which the protest took place.
And now a second prominent Hearthstone caster has rebuked Blizzard, announcing he’s pulling out of Hearthstone casting for the rest of the Grandmasters season. “Blitzchung’s actions to support Hong Kong speak to me far more than I could have imagined,” Nathan “Admirable” Zamora says. “It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, and to make sacrifices in the process. His actions are inspiring to me, and I support him wholeheartedly.”
My statement regarding Blitzchung, Hearthstone Grandmasters, and Blizzard.