The controversy surrounding Blizzard's recent suspension of a professional Hearthstone player, which occurred following a statement the player made about the liberation of Hong Kong from the Communist Party of China, continues to expand. Mid-day Wednesday, popular Hearthstone tournament caster Brian Kibler announced that he was resigning from his position effective immediately. Kibler is resigning in protest of Blizzard's "appeasement" and in support of the suspended player, Blitzchung, who Kibler believes has been treated extremely unfairly.
In a statement, Kibler speaks at length about his views on the situation and his decision to resign. He explains the current controversy surrounding Blizzard, Hong Kong, and Blitzchung, and then he explains his position on the matter. Specifically, Kibler states that he believes that Blitzchung deserves a punishment, indicating that official broadcasts shouldn't be used as "political tools," but he disagrees with the severity of Blizzard's response.
"The punishment meted out to Blitzchung is incredibly harsh," Kibler says of Blizzard's disciplinary action. "I could understand a fine, or even a short suspension from competitive play, but removal from Grandmasters, clawing back the prizes he already earned, and banning him for a full year seems completely overboard to an extent that feels unwarranted and unfair."
Blizzard's "heavy-handedness" is what leads Kibler to believe that Blitzchung was made "an example of" in order to appease involved parties from China. It's this that Kibler says is "not something I can in good conscience be associated with." After hearing about Blizzard's ruling, Kibler reached out to the company and told them he won't be casting the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament finals at BlizzCon. In his most heated comment, he states, "I will not be a smiling face on camera that tacitly endorses this decision."
Kibler's statement closes by encouraging those who are reading not to direct their frustration and anger towards other casters, streamers, or employees of the developer, suggesting that Blizzard's political decision making is occurring at an executive level. "This is not the kind of decision that comes from the rank and file," Kibler states. "Most likely they're just as angry as you are. I know I am."
Source: BMK Gaming