All those associated with or connected to Blizzard Entertainment are under strict supervision when it comes to their social media presence. They’re not allowed to use foul language, not allowed to make edgy jokes, nor are they allowed to tweet out memes containing Pepe the Frog. Apparently they’re also not allowed to criticize Blizzard for enforcing Chinese censorship on players and casters.
Overwatch assistant coach for the Dallas Fuel, Justin “Jayne” Conroy, told the Dallas Morning News that he was directed to delete a tweet critical of Blizzard for suspending Ng-wai “blitzchung” Chung and the two casters who were present when Chung shouted “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times!”.
Niche Gamer quoted the relevant piece from the Dallas Morning News, which stated…
“Dallas Fuel assistant coach Justin “Jayne” Conroy said Wednesday that he was directed to delete a tweet that was critical of punishment levied by Activision Blizzard on a HearthStone player who voiced his support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement. […]
“Jayne, in his since-deleted tweet, said he recognizes Blizzard’s rights to enforce its rules before condemning the ‘censorship and severity of consequences.’”
Blizzard has since walked back some of their enforcement on blitzchung and shout casters, reducing the former’s suspension down to six months from a year and restoring his prize money, while the latter were reinstated with a six month suspension.
Access Now, a global human rights organization, condemned Blizzard for what they called human rights abuses.
Blizzard has mostly shrugged off the criticisms following the reduction in blitzchung’s suspension, and have continued to censor and ban users from the forums for voicing support for blitzchung or the Hong Kong protestors. So far Conroy hasn’t been fired, but it’s possible he could still be sanctioned.
Once the media furor dies down expect everything to go back to business as usual, and for Blizzard to continue to float nonchalantly in the pocketbook of China.
(Thanks for the news tip Guardian EvaUnit02)