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Blizzard banned pro Hearthstone winner for supporting free Hong Kong and took away his prize money. It would be SUCH A SHAME if Mei became a symbol of Hong Kong democracy and got #Overwatch banned in China like Pooh did #FreeHongKong #MeiWithHongKong #MeiSupportsHongKong pic.twitter.com/yPum1ZTQqH
After four days of mounting public pressure, Blizzard Entertainment took a late Friday opportunity—8:30pm ET, where press releases go to die—to partially undo its ban on three members of the Hearthstone esports community for making statements in support of Hong Kong.
The outright ban applied to professional Hearthstone player Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung has since been changed to a six-month suspension from official Hearthstone esports tournaments. The original decision to strip him of the associated tournament's prize money has been reversed.
Additionally, the two Chinese broadcasters who interviewed (and possibly egged on) blitzchung during his shout of "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" had been fired; they too have had their punishment changed to a six-month suspension from their jobs as official Hearthstone esports "casters."
The announcement also includes an attempt by Blizzard President J. Allen Brack to explain how the terms of the existing punishment fit into the company's set of "core" values: "Think Globally; Lead Responsibly; and Every Voice Matters." While Brack's letter includes repeat defenses of its fans' and players' "different cultures and backgrounds," it points specifically to the belief that blitzchung's statements about Hong Kong were "in violation of rules he acknowledged and understood." To clarify what this violation was, Brack wrote:
Blizzard banned pro Hearthstone winner for supporting free Hong Kong and took away his prize money. It would be SUCH A SHAME if Mei became a symbol of Hong Kong democracy and got #Overwatch banned in China like Pooh did— Wenqing Yan (@Yuumei_Art) October 9, 2019
#FreeHongKong #MeiWithHongKong #MeiSupportsHongKong pic.twitter.com/yPum1ZTQqH
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