If you grew up playing games like World of Warcraft or Diablo, or have even enjoyed more recent games like Overwatch or Hearthstone, then you’ve been playing Blizzard games.
But Blizzard has apparently sunk down to the level of appeasing China like many other American businesses have done, and suspended a player from their Hearthstone championships after the player had conducted a post-victory interview wearing goggles and a gas mask, which has become something of a symbol for the Hong Kong protests.
The player also said “Libertate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”
— Inven Global (@InvenGlobal) October 6, 2019
In response, Blizzard suspended the player for a month and removed any prize money he may have accumulated in the process. Blizzard posted a statement on their website detailing their decision:
During the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters broadcast over the weekend there was a competition rule violation during a post-match interview, involving Blitzchung and two casters, which resulted in the removal of the match VOD replay.
Upon further review we have found the action has violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules section 6.1 (o) and is individual behavior which does not represent Blizzard or Hearthstone Esports. 6.1 (o) is found below.
Blizzard posted the rule that was violated in full:
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.
It’s likely that Blizzard was operating on the “offends a portion or group of the public” part of their rules.
Why is this important?
Because it’s one more company that is caving to China as quickly as it can, joining other companies like the NBA and Disney when it comes to kissing Chinese boots in order to stay in its market.
Recently, Houston Rockets coach Daryl Morey tweeted out his support for the Hong Kong protests and was immediately denounced by the NBA and the owner of the Houston Rockets, Tilman Fertitta
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 7, 2019
Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization. @espn https://t.co/yNyQFtwTTi
— Tilman Fertitta (@TilmanJFertitta) October 5, 2019
As I covered earlier, China banned any mention of the show South Park from its internet after the show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker wrote an entire episode dedicated to slamming this very thing. Chinese censorship has made companies alter their product so they can sell in its market, effectively censoring our content here in America.
The only people who seemed to understand that and not cave to the Chinese are Stone and Parker, who wrote their brand of an “apology” to China.
Blizzard acted fast in order to stay afloat in the Chinese market. While I understand that a good chunk of cash comes from China, companies are effectively sacrificing the principles of free speech and freedom in order to make money.
This would be better bitten in the rear now than later, and people should make sure these companies understand that they’re American, not Chinese. That they’re better off embracing American values, not those of totalitarians.