Blizzard Entertainment finally issued a statement about the recent suspension of Hearthstone grand champion blitzchung, as well as the fate of the casters who were providing commentary for the event when blitzchung proceeded to yell out a pro-Hong Kong slogan, following massive backlash and active media campaigns to boycott the company.
Over on the Blizzard website, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack wrote a lengthy missive, defending their decision to suspend blitzchung and the casters, as well as their adherence to Communist-style censorship.
However, Brack did relent on the severity of the punishments for blitzchung and the casters, noting that the Hearthstone champion would only be suspended for six months, and that they would reinstate the two casters who were present when he yelled out “Liberate Hong Kong”. Even still, the casters would also incur a six month suspension.
Brack boldly states that China played no role in their decision to sanction blitzchung, writing…
“Part of Thinking Globally, Leading Responsibly, and Every Voice Matters is recognizing that we have players and fans in almost every country in the world. Our goal is to help players connect in areas of commonality, like their passion for our games, and create a sense of shared community.
“The specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. 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.”
First of all, what is divisive about championing the liberty of human beings? Does Brack really think that saying people should be free is “divisive”? I don’t mean to interject with an opinion here, but what he’s inferring is outright bullcrap.
There is absolutely nothing divisive about championing the liberty of people who don’t want to be oppressed under a Communistic regime.
Brack’s disingenuous commentary on blitzchung’s statements is shamelessly repugnant.
It gets even more condescending, with Blizzard chastising blitzchung’s post-match comments by claiming that his support of Hong Kong was “derailing the broadcast”, with Brack writing…
“[…] We want to ensure that we maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all our players, and that our rules and processes are clear. All of this is in service of another important Blizzard value—Play Nice; Play Fair.
“In the tournament itself blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing. We understand that for some this is not about the prize, and perhaps for others it is disrespectful to even discuss it. That is not our intention.
“But playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we think about the suspension, six months for blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses. There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast.”
After making the comments he was done. They didn’t harp, dwell, or prolong the discussion about Hong Kong. He used the opportunity to bring awareness to the oppression of his people. Blizzard hypocritically saying they’re “inclusive” and “diverse” by condemning someone for bringing personal human rights issues to the public’s awareness makes them look tone deaf and like Communist lackeys.
What’s more is that Blizzard is being hypocritical, given that American University — during the collegiate Hearthstone tournament — held up a “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizzard” sign DURING the closing segments of the game, but Blizzard did not sanction them the way they did blitzchung, nor did they sanction the commentators.
Blizzard’s clear cut hypocrisy was even highlighted by e-sports consultant Rod Breslau.
Blizzard/TeSPA has decided not to penalize American University for holding up their sign and has scheduled their next match, but AU has decided to forfeit the match and the season, saying it is hypocritical for Blizzard to punish blitzchung but not them https://t.co/HHHeSJdPcH
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 10, 2019
Brack would go on to state that the casters are being reinstated but with a six month suspension, a punishment to ensure that commentary teams nor interviewers even remotely acknowledge or allow players to express views that aren’t in accordance with a message amiable toward their Chinese dictators…
“With regard to the casters, remember their purpose is to keep the event focused on the tournament. That didn’t happen here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as well.
“Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views.”
Keeping in line with his out-of-touch corporate message and soul-crushing defense of their decision to censor and reprimand someone for standing up against tyrants, Brack insincerely rounded out his statement with one of the most disgusting displays of incoherent disrespect., writing…
“One of our goals at Blizzard is to make sure that every player, everywhere in the world, regardless of political views, religious beliefs, race, gender, or any other consideration always feels safe and welcome both competing in and playing our games.
“At Blizzard, we are always listening and finding ways to improve—it is part of our culture. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to learn.”
Apparently they welcome every player so long as they don’t champion freedom, bring up the plight of real oppressed groups, and keep their mouths shut while their people are actively suffering.
That’s not to mention that Blizzard actively defended China in their initial statement about the suspension, which even prompted some U.S., politicians to criticize the company.
Anyone who accepts Brack’s message is a damn fool.
This is an embarrassing affront to everything that every patriot fought for, bled for, and died for to build America into what it is today. Their sacrifices and valor are not to be shorn by the razor-edged boot of totalitarian apologists all because potential demographic expansion is on the line in a country housing 1.3 billion people.
Screw Blizzard. Screw J. Allen Brack. And screw everybody who kowtowed to this pathetic piece of crap.
(Thanks for the news tip VersedGamer)