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from competitive Hearthstone, including removal from Hearthstone Grandmasters and his earnings thus far being rescinded.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.

In other news

Rocket League Won't Need Switch Online or PlayStation Plus Once It's Free-to-Play

That once agains leaves Xbox as the odd platform out.

Ubisoft's Next Forward Presentation Will Show Off Watch Dogs: Legion and More Next Week

Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Siege, and the game formerly known as Gods & Monsters will be there.

Some Rocket League Cosmetics, Like the Mario Cars, Can't Move Between Platforms

Any pop-culture crossover or console exclusive will stay tied to where you got it.

Riot Games Partnership With Controversial Saudi City Project Results in Immediate Backlash [Update]

Fans, commentators, and even Riot employees are publicly speaking out.

Need help?

How to Complete the Fortnite Pipeman, Hayman, Timber Tent Locations Challenge

Here's how you can complete the Fortnite challenge to dance in front of the pipeman, hayman, and timber tent locations.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare: How to Access Spec Ops Missions

Spec Ops missions are co-op, wave-based affairs. Here’s how to play them.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Terry Bogard Tips

SNK’s Terry Bogard has been added to Smash Bros. Here’s how to play him.