Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Takes Shot at Blizzard, Says Epic Supports Speech on “Politics and Human Rights”

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Takes Shot at Blizzard, Says Epic Supports Speech on “Politics and Human Rights”

Epic weighs in on the ongoing Hearthstone controversy.

Blizzard's decision to suspend pro Hearthstone player Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung over his statement in support of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong continues to rattle the American games industry at-large. Today, Epic Games and its CEO Tim Sweeney came forward to say the company supports players' rights in regards to political speech.

In a statement to The Verge, an Epic spokesperson said the developer "supports everyone's right to express their views on politics and human rights," adding that Epic "wouldn't ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics." On Twitter, Sweeney responded similarly to a user who noted that Chinese company Tencent owns 40% of Epic.

When asked directly if Epic would not sever ties with a figure in the manner Blizzard did with Chung, Sweeney responded in the affirmative. "Yes, absolutely. That will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder," says Sweeney.

In addition to its stake in Epic, Tencent owns roughly 5% of Activision-Blizzard and has stakes in other game companies such as Riot Games and Ubisoft. Earlier this year, a pernicious rumor about the Epic Games Store being spyware was driven largely by anti-Chinese sentiment directed towards Epic because of Tencent's stake in the company.

Chung's suspension from Hearthstone has kicked off a growing boycott campaign across social media, spurred quiet protest within Blizzard, and inspired a collegiate Hearthstone team to voice its own support for the Hong Kong protests on a Blizzard stream. Blizzard maintains that Chung violated the company's esports competition rules, which state that any comment which brings a player "into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard" can result in removal from a competition.

The suspension of Chung comes mere days after the NBA became embroiled in a controversy over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's statement in support of the Hong Kong protests. Yesterday, the NBA's general commissioner issued a statement saying that the organization won't "put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees, and team owners" can say on political issues. Now Epic, makers of one of the world's biggest games, has followed suit—and all eyes are on Blizzard to see whether it will hold to its decision.

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.

Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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.