Blizzard "Assessing the Situation" Amid Fracas Over Hearthstone Suspension

Blizzard "Assessing the Situation" Amid Fracas Over Hearthstone Suspension

Protests against Blizzard's ruling might have the company rethinking its stance.

Even in a relatively short amount of time, Blizzard's decision to suspend a Hearthstone player for pro-Hong Kong statements made during a post-match interview have elicited a great deal of scrutiny and protests. Now, it seems like the company is re-examining its stance in the wake of it.

Speaking to Engadget, a spokesperson for the company told them that Blizzard is "assessing the situation for now."

This is the first comment made on the matter since Blizzard's initial ruling, where Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai received a 12-month suspension from competitive Hearthstone, including removal from Hearthstone Grandmasters and his earnings thus far being rescinded. Two commentators were also let go. These punishments were handed down due to Chung's vocal support of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, saying "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age" during a post-match interview.

In the hours since, the Hearthstone community at large has been quick to scrutinize Blizzard's decision, calling for boycotts while some internal Blizzard employees silently protested the ruling. Last night, a collegiate Hearthstone team for American University held up a sign mid-match that read "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizzard", and the Overwatch character Mei was co-opted as a symbol of protest against Blizzard's actions.

New developments have been streaming out over the course of the day, with popular Hearthstone player and commentator Brian Kibler saying he would no longer cast the Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon due to the ruling. The Daily Beast also reports that some some Blizzard employees staged a walkout in protest of the decision.

Blizzard has found itself at the center of an international mess of its own making, so it's no surprise that the level of immediate and overwhelming response has caused decision-makers within the company to reconsider. As tensions mount around interests in China's economy and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, the window could be open for Blizzard to walk this back; the question is whether it will, and whether it will regain any faith it lost from fans in the process.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

Read this next

Starting Screen | Blizzard's Troubled 2019 Finds the Once Invincible Studio at a Crossroads

This past year has found Blizzard embroiled in one controversy after another. What does it say about its future?

Suspended Hearthstone Player Says He Accepts Blizzard's New Ruling

Blitzchung does wish Blizzard would reconsider its position on the casters, however.

Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry

Both Blitzchung and the two commentators have had their suspension halved.

"It's Hypocritical for Blizzard to Punish Blitzchung but Not Us"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Activision Blizzard has always been a vigorous advocate for freedom of expression.

On Chinese Social Media, Blizzard Said it Would Protect China's "National Dignity"

The statement goes a step further than saying Hong Kong's "Blitzchung" violated a rule.

Overwatch's Mei Becomes Symbol of Protest Following Hearthstone Player's Suspension

Supporters are making fan art of Mei supporting the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

More News

League of Legends is Coming to Mobile and Consoles Next Year

League is going mobile over the next year with the slightly different League of Legends: Wild Rift.

G2A Representative: "Do You Really Think You Could Illegally Obtain 100,000 Keys?"

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, G2A's head of communication Maciej Kuc fires back at critics of the key selling marketplace.

More on Android

Fortnite XP Guide - How to Earn XP and Increase Your Level

This is our guide to the new Fortnite XP system, and how you can earn XP to increase your overall level.

Fortnite Medals List - How to Earn New Medals and Refresh the Punchcard

This is our full guide to the new Fortnite Medals system, including how to earn them, and times for the Punchcard refresh.

Fortnite 2 Map - All Named Locations and Landmarks on the New Fortnite Map

This is your overview to the Fortnite 2 map, including all the new landmarks and named locations on the Chapter 2 map.

League of Legends is Coming to Mobile and Consoles Next Year

League is going mobile over the next year with the slightly different League of Legends: Wild Rift.

Fortnite Upgrade Bench - How to Upgrade Your Weapons

Here's how to use the new Upgrade Benches in Fortnite, so you can upgrade your weapons.

More Esports Games

Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Switch Launch Event Amid Ongoing Public Backlash

The Nintendo New York event has been abruptly cancelled.

Suspended Hearthstone Player Says He Accepts Blizzard's New Ruling

Blitzchung does wish Blizzard would reconsider its position on the casters, however.

Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry

Both Blitzchung and the two commentators have had their suspension halved.

Riot Games Tells Players and Commentators to Not Discuss "Sensitive Issues" During World Championship

In the wake of the ongoing Blizzard suspension controversy, Riot wants to preempt political statements on League of Legends streams.