Blizzard Entertainment has announced the ruling for Hong Kong-based Hearthstone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai and two casters following a post-game interview during the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters.
blitzchung used the interview as an opportunity to support protesters who are active in Hong Kong, appearing in a gas mask and goggles. He has been suspended for a full year as a result.
— ? Inven Global ? (@InvenGlobal) October 6, 2019
Blizzard stated that blitzchung and the two casters have violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules, section 6.1 (o):
“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 will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.”
The highest tier of competition in Hearthstone’s esports structure, Grandmasters has zero tolerance towards any rule violations. As punishment for what was said during the interview, blitzchung has been removed from Grandmasters from the year and will receive no prize money from the entirety of the second season.
Additionally, blitzchung was banned from participating in official Hearthstone tournaments until October 6th, 2020. The two casters who engaged in the interview will no longer work with Blizzard Entertainment as part of the ruling.
Besides announcing the punishment for blitzchung and the two casters, Blizzard Entertainment also re-emphasized the principles of its esports efforts: while it stands by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, those who participate in its esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.
Esports Insiders says: Esports is supposed to enable fans and players from all over the world to play and communicate with each other but censorship in this fashion is a step backwards. We don’t have to agree on everything to remain civil with each other and this applies way beyond any industry.