On Wednesday, we reported that a Hearthstone collegiate team from American University in Washington, D.C., had staged a brief protest in support of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong pro player banned last weekend. Now it appears Blizzard won’t be doing anything about it.
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.
Our full coverage of Blizzard’s fiasco is here:
• Not So Massively: Reflections on Blizzard, one year after the Hong Kong fiasco
• Leaderboard: Four months after the Blitzchung Hong Kong mess, are you still boycotting Blizzard?
• Blitzchung: No regrets for speaking up for Hong Kong despite Hearthstone suspension
• Activision-Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick downplays the role of politics in games
• J. Allen Brack says the Blitzchung incident ‘exposed some immaturity’ in Blizzard
• Overwatch’s Jeff Kaplan thinks Blizzard’s Blitzchung punishment was too harsh
• Vague Patch Notes: Ethics, PR stunts, and the BlizzCon apology
• BlizzCon protesters remain unmoved by Blizzard apology as industry groups propose unified esports principles
• Even some Hearthstone devs thought Blizzard overreacted in the Hearthstone fiasco
• Despite BlizzCon apology, Blizzard stands behind ‘Hong Kong liberation’ suspensions
• BlizzCon 2019: Here’s Blizzard’s apology for its Hearthstone esports disaster
• Mitsubishi dropped its Blizzard esports sponsorship following the Hong Kong fiasco
• Lawful Neutral: What’s China really worth to the Western gaming industry?
• US politicians chastise Activision-Blizzard for its handling of the Hong Kong fiasco
• Riot Games expresses ’empathy’ for Blizzard after its Hong Kong fiasco
• Massively Overthinking: Are you boycotting Blizzard?
• Blizzard finally decides to ban the college Hearthstone team that called for a Blizzard boycott too
• WoW Factor: Blizzard’s nonpology and the ethics of boycotting
• Massively OP Podcast Episode 242: And then Blizzard said, ‘Hold my beer’
• Overwatch brings back Halloween today but cancels the Nintendo Switch launch event
• Blizzard solves its ‘one company, two policies’ problem by hiding pro players and canceling an event
• Not So Massively: The Blizzard I loved is dead
• BlizzCon protests begin to officially organize in response to the Hong Kong controversy
• Blizzard finally addresses Hong Kong esports fiasco, reducing bans and reinstating prize money
• League of Legends tells casters and pro players to avoid ‘sensitive issues’ at the World Champs
• Blizzard dev says there’s no internal comms over Hong Kong fiasco: ‘It’s pulling our teams apart at the seams’
• Mark Kern didn’t just quit WoW Classic: He accused his old Firefall studio of Chinese corruption
• Blizzard won’t punish the US college Hearthstone players who protested in support of Blitzchung – so they quit
• Analysts fret over Blizzard’s prospects following wildly unpopular ban of Hong Kong Hearthstone esports star
• Global Chat: The Hearthstone Hong Kongstraversy
• WoW Factor: The shabby ethics of Blizzard’s ‘Hong Kong liberation’ ban
• Players, pros, and politicians join in protest over Blizzard’s censorship of Hong Kong Hearthstone pro
• Blizzard bans Hearthstone esports player and fires casters over pro-Hong Kong protest
Update 10:20 AM EDT
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.”