Riot Games Bars League Of Legends Players From Discussing Politics During Broadcasts

League of Legends Hong Kong Censorship

John Needham, the global head of League of Legends e-sports, sent out a public letter making it known that Riot Games is barring all competitors, casters, and staff from discussing, mentioning, or talking about sensitive topic matter such as religion, politics, or social issues during games or post-game interviews.

Eurogamer is reporting that on October 11th, 2019, Needham posted the following message to Twitter, which received a mixed response from the audience.

If you’re unable to view the text from the letter in the image, it reads…

“As we near this weekend’s League of Legends World Championship Group stage, I want to take a moment to speak clearly about how we approach sensitive topics on Riot’s broadcasts.


“As a general rule, we want to keep our broadcasts focused on the game, the sport, and the players. We serve fans from many different countries and cultures, and we believe this opportunity comes with a responsibility to keep personal views on sensitive issues (political, religious, or otherwise) separate. These topics are often incredibly nuanced, require deep understanding and a willingness to listen, and cannot be fairly represented in the forum our broadcast provides. Therefore, we have reminded our casters and pro players to refrain from discussing any of these topics on air.


“Our decision also reflects that we have Riot employees and fans in regions where there has been (or there is risk of) political and/or social unrest, including places like Hong Kong. We believe we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure that statements or actions on our official platforms (intended or not) do not escalate potentially sensitive situations.


“We’ll always strive to deliver a great competitive experience for players and fans. It may be idealistic, but we hope that League of Legends can be a positive force that brings people together, no matter where they are in the world, even if it’s just one game at a time on Summoner’s Rift.”

So apparently if the residents of Nanking were still being raped and killed to this day, Riot’s response is that to be accommodating of rapists and murderers, just don’t speak about the human rights violations taking place because the rapists and murderers might get offended.

Don’t want to offend any rapists or murderers, eh, Riot?

Of course, the real reason Riot doesn’t want people talking about the Hong Kong protests and the atrocities that the militarized police are committing against residents and protestors is because Riot Games is 100% owned by Tencent, and Tencent is an arm of the PRC State department.

When Quartz outed Tencent’s relationship with the mainland Chinese government and unabashedly covered the Hong Kong protests, Apple had the Quartz app removed from the iTunes App Store at the behest of China.

Essentially, this is the Chinese government speaking through one of its puppet’s subsidiaries, to tell the American people that they’re no longer allowed to speak freely about the atrocities taking place in Hong Kong.

It’s funny because people originally tried giving Riot the benefit of the doubt, when they thought that their casters were censoring the name of the e-sports group the Hong Kong Attitude by simply calling them “HKA” instead of saying “Hong Kong” on-air.

Just a day before Needham issued the public statement on Tencent’s behalf, Esports Talk did a video defending Riot, stating that the company’s community manager claimed that they weren’t censoring the Hong Kong Attitude nor were they censoring their players.

Needham’s statements seem to say otherwise.

But it didn’t end there. The ESL also barred players and staff from not only talking about Hong Kong during broadcasts, but on social media in general.

The Hong Kong Free Press quoted a message from ESL co-founder Ralf Reichert, who wrote to the company’s 700 employees…

“As a global company being active in many countries around the globe, we naturally do abstain from political discussions and setting the best example by living our values.


“Therefore, we would like to suggest to not actively engage in the discussion, especially on social media.”

Don’t expect the censorship to subside anytime soon, especially with Blizzard standing by its decision to maintain the six-month suspension of Hearthstone grandmaster champion blitzchung and the two casters, even after Access Now condemned their actions as human rights abuses.

(Thanks for the news tip Guardian EvaUnit02)

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