The Chinese Overwatch League Saebyeolbe boycott is apparently over thanks to OWL intervention

And money, probably


Yesterday, we covered a brewing mess over in the Overwatch fandom, as a South Korean pro esports player, Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park, commented on his Twitch livestream that he was feeling censored when streaming for Chinese audiences, as his managers had told him he was not to discuss Taiwanese and Hong Kong independence, that he essentially needed to go along with censorship and “become a Chinese dog” to make money in the region. Chinese pro players flipped tables, effectively proving Park’s point: They rejected his eventual apology and announced a boycott of any OWL events where Park was present. As the Shanghai Dragons manager put it, Park should “assume his own social responsibilities, focus on competition instead of arbitrarily making bad statements that challenge the sovereignty of other countries.” In other words, he should stick to gaming, but they don’t have to. (Thank goodness he stopped some kid from “challenging the sovereignty” of the biggest country on earth on Twitch – imagine the damage he could’ve done!)

Blizzard, perhaps having learned its lesson from its self-inflicted Blitchung fiasco a year and a half ago, hasn’t said a single peep in public, and as we noted yesterday, western players particularly on Reddit have been broadly supportive of Park. But it sounds as if the organization has been working overtime behind the scenes, as now the boycott is over; according to the Hangzhou Spark, it took the “active involvement of the Overwatch League,” which of course has no interest in losing more money or fomenting another international crisis.

As WaPo notes, Saebyeolbe isn’t set to participate in the weekend’s tournament, but western fans are already preparing to chat-bomb the event in his honor.

Source: Twitter via WaPo. Cheers, Dobablo.

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And the best way to read the above OWL statement is with this song playing in the background:

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It’s lovely that if Blizzard did do anything to protect one of the players, that they did it behind the scenes so they can never actually prove they did it (unless they reveal the communications which they ain’t gonna do).

If they did, good on them for that. But it’s kinda cowardly at the same time. Probably the better way to tamp down the drama, but not the best way to like, be a company that claims to uphold values and shit.


The only thing companies value is their bottom line.

Any company claiming anything else is just pandering and convenience.



Doing anything other than stopping the boycott would’ve been a PR nightmare for Blizzard.