Here’s a helpful tip for all you aspiring streamers and professional gamers- Don’t go on livestream wearing a gas mask and goggles screaming “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”. This is exactly what Hearthstone Pro player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung did on the official Hearthstone Taiwan Stream following his Grandmasters match over the weekend. These comments weren’t appreicated by Blizzard, who are quite aware of the repercussions this would have in their Chinese market and have quickly taken action against Blitzchung.
Blizzard have released an official statement indicating that Blitzchung has breached Section 6.1 of the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules, which states:
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.
As punishment for Blitzchung’s actions, Blizzard has stated that Blitzchung has been removed from Grandmasters Season 2 tournament and will receive no prize money from the event, and that he’s also been banned from competitive Hearthstone until October 5, 2020. Interestingly enough, Blizzard has also banned the two commentators who took cover under their desk as Blitzchung made his comments. It’s however been revealed that the reason Blizzard have banned the commentators is a result of them requesting/encouraging Blitzchung by saying “Say the eight words, then we’ll end the interview immediately.”.
Blizzard support one’s right to express their thoughts and opinons, but obviously there’s a time and place for this. “We’d like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent. While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.” Blizzard enforced in their official statement. Unfortunately for Blitzchung, he has paid a hefty price but takes full responsibility and doesn’t regret his actions. “As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention. I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn’t focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”. Blitzchung said in response to his ban.