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.”