A professional “Hearthstone” player was pulled from a tournament and placed on a year ban by Blizzard after he expressed his support for the ongoing Hong Kong protests.
During an interview after the Grandmasters match on Sunday, Hong Kong professional “Hearthstone” player Blitzchung
, whose real name is Ng Wai Chung, appeared in front of the camera wearing a gas mask worn by protesters in Hong Kong, according to The Verge
“Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” he said in the interview before the stream suddenly cut to a commercial break.
Blizzard, the publisher of “Hearthstone,” issued a statement hours after the event, reminding that players must follow the competition’s official rules.
“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules,” the company wrote.
Blizzard added it will withhold the prize money Blitzchung won at the tournament and place a 12-month ban on the professional player effective Oct. 5.
The company also terminated the contracts of the two casters who interviewed the player.
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Immutable, formerly Fuel Games, the developer of rival card game “Gods Unchained,” announced its full support of Blitzchung and said it will pay “all of his lost winnings.”
It will also send him an invite for a $500,000 tournament, CNET
All videos on demand pertaining to Blitzchung’s support for the Hong Kong protest have been removed.
The bannning by Blizzard has since been condemned by U.S. politicians Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden:
Additionally, eSports commentator and former Blizzard employee Kevin Hovdestad: