Blizzard Bans Hearthstone Team for 6 Months For "Free Hong Kong" Sign

Blizzard has issued a penalty to the American University Hearthstone team for a sign they held up during a tournament live-stream.

Blizzard has banned the American University Hearthstone team from participating in competitive matches after the team held up a sign showing support for the Hong Kong protests during a live stream last week.

Earlier this month, Hearthstone player, Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung was part of an esports match, and during the post-match interview, he made a statement in support of the ongoing Hong Kong protests. This led to Blizzard not only suspending him for a year, but they also took away any prize money he had won. This caused an uproar with the community and prompted Blizzard to issue a statement.

A day later, Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark, and “TJammer”, part of the American University Hearthstone team held up a sign reading, “FREE HONG KONG, BOYCOTT BLIZZ”.  The team the voluntary dropped out of the tournament after Blizzard and the organizing partner Tespa booked the team into the next scheduled match.

They told USGamer, “We feel it’s hypocritical for Blizzard to punish Blitzchung but not us,” and “The response from Blizzard shows that as soon as the messaging is out of the view of China they don’t care about ‘political’ messaging.”

Today, Casey Chambers confirmed that action has been taken against the AU Hearthstone team through a Twitter post showing the email they had received from Blizzard.

In addition, Casey responded to a commenter stating that the team knew what they were doing and expected to be punished. However, their issue was with the company ignoring their protest for PR reasons.

The email stated that the team had violated rule 7.1B. The rule being, “Participants may not take any action or perform any gesture directed at another Participant, Tespa Admin, or any other party or incite others to do the same which is abusive, insulting, mocking, or disruptive.”

The email also reads

“Every Voice Matters at Blizzard, and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the game and the competition, and to be a place where all are welcome.”

Then the email discusses the penalty for the AU Hearthstone team, stating that they are prohibited from taking part in any Hearthstone competitive tournaments, both operated by Blizzard or third-parties. The penalty is active for six months starting from October 8 and extended to April 8, 2020.

Blizzard’s Overwatch landed on Nintendo Switch this week, with a special launch event due to be taking place at Nintendo New York. However, Blizzard canceled the event, leaving 150 reserved fans unable to meet the voice actors of Overwatch that were due to be at the event. The company is also due to be holding Blizzcon 2019 on November 1.

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Ben Bayliss

Based in the UK and adores venturing through FPS horrors and taking photos in pretty much anything with a functioning photo mode. Also likes car games.

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