Blizzard Reduces Suspension Of Hearthstone Player Who Made Hong Kong Comments, Returns Prize Money

Image: Blitzchung

After a week of controversy surrounding its decision to boot Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai from a tournament and suspend him for a year for delivering a pro-Hong-Kong message during an official broadcast, Blizzard has finally made a statement about the situation. It plans to allow Blitzchung to collect his prize money after all and reduce his suspension.

In the statement, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack explained that while Blizzard tries to uphold company values that focus on diversity and global thinking, it also wants to keep esports events focused on games. Blitzchung broke a rule, but Brack insists that the specific words he said weren’t the issue.

“The specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made,” wrote Brack. “I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took. If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same.”


Comments

    "I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision"
    BULLSHIT! Absolute, 100% bullshit.
    This outright LIE makes them worse. Not only did they NOT stick to their "focus" they attempted to change the narrative whilst doing the mildest of backpeddling.
    Fuck Blizzard.

      No. Fuck Blizzard, AND FUCK CHINA HARDER.

    I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision

    Sure....

    *Looks at official message Blizzard posted on Chinese social media.

      Blizzard didn't post it, their Chinese publisher did.

      At this stage it doesn't really matter though, they've lost control of the situation on all sides and it's starting to hurt them in more ways than one.

        It really doesn’t matter who runs the account. It’s the official mouthpiece for Blizzard on that platform. They speak for Blizzard. They spoke for Blizzard. The language is clear.

        And Blizzard has done nothing to say otherwise, let alone denounce it.

        As transientmind said before me, Its an official Blizzard account. They officially represent them in China. Therefore i will treat it as the official opinion of Blizzard.

        Blizzard has not as of yet disavowed that statement made. So will treat as them endorsing it.

          Also to @transientmind

          That's where things get complicated.
          The statement essentially matches Blizzards english statement but the problem is the addition at the end which has been construed as reasoning when it's very similar to saying, "Also, God save the Queen."
          This problematic addition puts Blizzard in a tight spot, by disavowing it they are essentially denouncing not only their original statement but also what Chinese citizens will view as their right to pride in their country.
          By not disavowing it they are also inadvertently supporting the association.
          Either way there's no way to avoid the politics of the affair on any level.

          Now don't get me wrong, as far as I'm concerned Blizzard/Activision had made their bed and now they have to sleep in it, my comment is purely about context in a time when emotions and sensationalism is running high.

            This is the inherent issue with companies doing business in China. The Chinese Government doesn't share the same values as most western countries, valuing social harmony and control above individual liberties and rights. Whenever a situation like this crops up, companies have to decide between risking their stake in that country, or appearing indifferent to or supportive of the suppression of civil liberties. Today it's Blizzard and the NBA doing it. Tomorrow, it may be Apple, or Microsoft, or Amazon, or Beoing.

              Well I think nearly all of those companies already have in one way or another.

              Apple blocked an app used by protesters and removed the Taiwanese flag emoji.
              Amazon and Microsoft have been under increasing criticism for some highly questionable contracts with organisations like ICE and others that well and truly fall under the suppression of
              liberties.

              Don't even get me started on Boeing.
              As one of the largest arms distributors, war lobbyists and propaganda arms of the military-industrial-congressional complex the amount of innocent blood on their hands is staggering.

    “We express our strong indignation [or resentment] and condemnation of the events that occurred in the Hearthstone Asia Pacific competition last weekend and absolutely oppose the dissemination of personal political ideas during any events [or games]. The players involved will be banned, and the commentators involved will be immediately terminated from any official business. Also, we will protect [or safeguard] our national dignity [or honor].”

    China has no effect on us at all hahaha

      Yeeeah... You wouldn't go scorched earth and also take out bystanders such as commentators, etc, if you genuinely only had issue with nothing but a single player's actions in principle.

    Fucking cuck.

      Well given the recent revelations of him being in a certain dead pedophiles black book i think he has a different kind of attraction.

    This should teach people that companies that hop on the bandwagon of things like LGBTI issues don't actually give a shit about any cause. They just want to exploit you for profit.

    Blizzard doesn't add diverse characters to their game for muh progressiveness. They do it to placate you so you will buy their products.

    Companies will take any viewpoint that will get them money.

      Well, that degenerated into an anti-diversity rant fairly quickly. Any excuse, I guess.

        No, I've been thinking it as well. Not as an anti-diversity thing, but as a, "Don't trust that the company is adding diversity because they support it." Because they very fucking clearly do NOT support diversity. They support the money that it can bring when appropriately packaged to certain Western markets. Nothing more.

        Not to say that it isn't a good thing. We SHOULD vote with our dollars to encourage more diversity.

        All I'm thinking, as a result of this, is that it's not a reflection on the progressiveness of a company in the slightest, and they deserve zero praise in future for doing what's right for the wrong reason.

        Last edited 13/10/19 12:46 am

        Please provide the exact state where i myself stated in that comment i was "Anti-Diversity"

        What my comment was doing was pointing at that Companies only care about what makes them money. They appear fake woke so you will buy their products.

          If they thought it would lose them money companies wouldn't support or have any diversity, it's all corporate greed now at least back when people used to stand for thing's that mattered they put people before profit.

          Now it like hey if we support "insert group here" we can get a whole new market to sell our shit too and hey if we score some woke points along the way well that's just free advertising.

          Also it's interesting too look at what happened with Gillette, the whole get woke go broke looks more deliberate.

          Gillette was already losing money as fewer men were shaving and more women turning to laser or waxing ( some men as well) P&G saw an opportunity to write off it's overall losses it had incurred over all its companies and brands it owned by tanking Gillette (an already failing business).

          With a ridiculously and obviously "woke" campaign deliberately designed to create "outrage" so they could cry about "getting woke and going broke" which was there intended purpose all along.

          So even companies who look like they went full retard are actually quite good businessmen/buisnesswomen using manufactured outrage as justification of thier losses.

          edit hell

          Last edited 13/10/19 1:17 pm

            Man, i understand the frustration with the comment system here.

            I wish editing a comment wouldnt put you into auto-moderation. Fixing a spelling mistake shouldn't put your comment into moderation hell.

          It's pretty straight forward.

          Your assertion that LGBTI inclusiveness is simply a marketing strategy ('hop on the bandwagon') and your use of alt-right terminology ('woke', see below), not to mention dropping the whole tenuously related issue into discussion of a completely unrelated article about political protest, make your position on the issue transparently clear.

          If there was any doubt left, however, one would only have to click through to your post history.

            It is a marketing strategy in most cases, do you really think a company would be "inclusive" if there was a chance they'd lose money, altruism is practically dead it's only individuals that afford to do it or companies that are specificity for inclusion.

            It may be cynical but I'd like to see an example of a company which hadn't been inclusive in the past doing it now and losing money.

            Your assertion that LGBTI inclusiveness is simply a marketing strategy

            Nope, My assertion is that companies doing it publicly is a market strategy. Tracer and Soldier 76 are both canonically gay in the game, but not in China. In China they are both canonically straight. That's how much blizzard cares.

            If there was any doubt left, however, one would only have to click through to your post history.

            Yes, i am clearly anti-diversity.

            Voted Labor my whole life
            Voted yes in the marriage vote.
            Strongly against loony legislation from the conservative right that seeks to discriminate on gender or sexuality.
            Strongly against the current Religous discrimination bill which was only created because the conservative right was butthurt about losing the marriage vote.
            Previously attended pride rallies to support my LGBTIQ friends one of which i stopped killing himself due to the discrimination they received from their family.

            Yes, All those things clearly paint me as being anti-Diversity.

            Or do they paint you as a cunt?

              And yet somehow none of those opinions seem to have motivated you enough to post about them on this site.

              Other than an occasional comment related to computer games, it's more or less page after page of complaints about #metoo, equality and inclusiveness. Your choice of slur is also pretty illustrative.

              Mark Latham and John Setka voted Labor all their lives too, eh?

              Regardless, the vast majority of your opinions, including those you mention above, sit squarely in the middle of the Libertarian/alt-right political spectrum. Time to own it mate.

              Last edited 14/10/19 7:40 am

                Mark Latham and John Setka

                Mark Latham was a cunt back when he was made labour leader, And he still is to this day. He is the worlds biggest sook. Did you know he just lost a defamation lawsuit for a tweet he made? It was glorious watching him be forced to apologize.

                As for John Setka. He is a plague on labor. He is a plague on unions. He needs to be removed.

                Regardless, the vast majority of your opinions, including those you mention above, sit squarely in the middle of the Libertarian/alt-right political spectrum. Time to own it mate.

                Please do keep calling me alt-right. It's the funniest thing I read. I must be the worst alt-righter ever. I've always voted labour and will continue to do so. I still think the LNP are dickheads who can't run a country let alone an economy (The past 10 years are evidence of that)

                I also think Donald Trump is a buffoon with an inferiority complex and a fair few of his supporters are delusional morons.

                Im must be the worst alt righter ever. Alt right, Yet don't support any Right-wing politicians.

      I agree with this statement: Disney et al. jump on "inclusivity" as audience/society pleasing tactic, not a moral standpoint. It's still financially motivated. It's done for the exact same reason that Blizzard sided with China. They've adapted in advance for their future audience's expectations.
      HOWEVER, that kinda of approach is still Pro-people. So regarldess of their ultimate motivations, it's still positive.
      Blizzard's approach to this is decidedly anti-democratic: They sided with China for future audiences as well, but this audience is made up of a people living in a neo-fascist society disguised as "communism". Clearly, Blizzard and the others don't see China being liberated anytime soon from it's old-world politics. In fact, they see an oriental farmland chock full of cash cows, just wating to be milked from their cash that they are all willing to throw on entertainment that offers a glimpse of a less state-run life.
      In conclusion: Fuck the Chinese Government and power to the people.

        yep the big issue here is that this is an american company bowing down to a Hostile totalitarian foreign government. Riot on the other hand is 100% owned by Tencent thus if they pulled the same shit as blizzard did here, there would still be outrage, but it would be a lot more muted seeing as they are a chinese company

          Tencent says jump

          Riot says "How high?"

        Yeah, My point was while what some companies do might be good, Their motives behind it arent.

    Blitzchung broke a rule, but Brack insists that the specific words he said weren’t the issue.
    Does this mean that he would have also received a year's suspension and loss of prize money if he'd said "I like dogs more than cats" on the stream? That is also unrelated to the game and may offend some members of the audience.

      What if he said something like "I support gay marriage!" or "Equal pay for women!"?
      Would they dare punish him for those comments, or would it be shooting themselves in the foot for ZERO financial gain?
      I think the reality is pretty obvious here. Dressing it up as anything other than what it looks like is outlandish. They want all them China bucks.

        If their biggest market was the Middle East they probably would.

          Blizzard don't have a chance there.
          Nobody can compete with THAT much incest:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin_marriage_in_the_Middle_East

            Its legal in pretty much most of the world to marry first cousins.

            Its even legal here.

            (2) Marriages of parties within a prohibited relations are marriages: (a) between a person and an ancestor or descendant of the person; or (b) between a brother and sister (whether of the whole blood or the half-blood).

            As long as you arent blood related you can marry them.

              Yeah, but should you? This is one of those things that somebody will CHOOSE to interpret as racism, but it's not racist: Just racially insensitive.
              So, I worked with these two brothers that another guy asked me to employ because they were linked to his family in the Middle East somewhere along the line. They started up, took FOREVER to train and get compliant, and were just, I dunno how to say this... fucking dumb.
              One day, I lost my cool with them after they'd both seperatley had upset two groups of nurses, so I had a talk to them and blurted out (in my furstration) "Are your parent's cousins?" in a deriding fashion to imply they were dumb. They each answered "Yes!" in the most chipper voices ever. I questioned them, realised they were serious. They told me that both sets of their grandparents were also first cousins.
              Then I looked it up. And well, here I am: Aware the people in the ME inbreed a lot whilst simultaneously aware (as a Tasmanian) that inbreeding makes you a fucking moronic jelly brained clownshoe that strains society. So now I need to NOT be racist and respect Middle Eastern peeps whilst still being aware that inbreedin/incest is fundamentally wrong and damaging to intellectual progress, emotional health, and has a correlation with all sorts fo negative shit, like violence against women and further forms of incest.
              How the fuck are you supposed to be tolerant and realistic all at once with that shit?
              'Cause I struggle with one.

                My comment was less an endorsement and more an elaboration.

                A lot of people don't realize its legal, And its largely a cultural thing. Some embrace it, Some dont.

                Its largely a western thing to see it as icky.

              Can never understand why posting factual information gets a down vote, unless someone is dumb enough to assume your advocating for it.

                Yeah no idea what pissed off @comixfan so much that caused him to downvote almost every comment.

                Clearly has issues.

                  It's not like he actually ever says anything. All these NPCs that just click the up and down arrows without contributing to the conversation aren't useful to the discussion.

                  I went through and upvoted all the comments he downvoted to render his actions useless anyway.

    I can get why Blizzard doesn't want political opinions in their tournaments, but they heavy handed overreaction essentially killed any ability for it to go away.

    Could have easily have been solved with a warning to Blitzchung and maybe a word to the casters. Now, even this reduced penalty still screams I'm China's bitch.

    Blizzard: Every Voice Matters!!!

    Blizzard to China: But some voices matter more than others, my Lord.

    Pack of craven cowards.

    "Whatchoo need Blizzard, is some Tegridy... now, it just so happens..."

    Now they look even weaker. They took a shit stance and then backflipped when there was backlash. So pathetic.

    That's a somewhat disappointing response. It's a weak effort to say they did the wrong thing, without actually taking responsibility for their actions.
    It's not hard to say "it was a difficult decision for us, we got it wrong, and we apologise".

      They're trying to please two masters; have their cake and eat it too.
      They need to stay on China's good side, but mollify the weaker, more forgiving western/global audience with a half-assed non-apology and some woefully-insufficient remediation.

      A proper apology that pissed off China was never an option, in their soulless, greedy, immoral eyes.

    This is the result of Neoliberalist Free Market Capitalism. Apple, Amazon, Blizzard, Microsoft, Disney, Nike. These massive companies are willing and eager to take China's money, and will compromise themselves to do it.

    China is probably going to organ harvest this guy anyway, wouldn't be surprised if he just disappears. Something china is good at doing for citizens, disappearing them...

    Has Blitzchung made a response yet? Considering he's the kind of guy who'd make a protest like this in the first place, knowing what a dangerous act it is, I'd expect him to flip Blizzard off and tell them "Screw you guys, I don't need you any more, I'm going to play something else".

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