For those who are still unaware, this last weekend has been pretty chaotic for Activision Blizzard and fans have been boycotting the company over a recent decision. This previous weekend Blizzard decided to ban “Blitzchung,” a pro-Hearthstone player, for his comments supporting Hong Kong’s liberation during an official stream. However, this decision and the severity of the punishment didn’t sit well with the community and soon #BoycottBlizzard started trending on Twitter.
Not only did players create threads and posts to protest the decision, some even went as far as to delete their entire Hearthstone collections and even their entire Blizzard accounts. Apart from the casual players, pro players also issued statements in support of Blitzchung and the two casters who were fired. During the Collegiate Hearthstone Championship, the American University team even held up a "Free Hong Kong, boycott Blizzard" sign, which led to Blizzard quickly cutting the broadcast.
Fortunately, Blizzard has decided not to penalize or punish the American University team for holding the sign and even scheduled their next match. But the University team has decided to forfeit all of their upcoming games and the entire season, saying it is completely hypocritical for Blizzard to punish blitzchung but not them.
Blizzard/TeSPA has decided not to penalize American University for holding up their sign and has scheduled their next match, but AU has decided to forfeit the match and the season, saying it is hypocritical for Blizzard to punish blitzchung but not them https://t.co/HHHeSJdPcH— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 10, 2019
One of the American University players took to Reddit to express his disapproval.”This shows Blizzard's hypocrisy in how it treats different regions. They are hesitant to suppress free speech when it happens in America, on an English language stream, but will throw casters' and players' livelihoods under the bus if they are from Hong Kong or Taiwan.” He said in a post on Reddit. “To clarify one point, our protest was in no way comparable to Blitzchung's. He, and all Hong Kongers, are putting so much more on the line than we did. Unlike him, we also suggested boycotting Blizzard, while his message was purely in support of human rights. Yet he is the one Blizzard targeted.”
Right now Blizzard seems to be in a state of damage control, but all attempts to calm community concerns are met with more opposition. The Hearthstone subreddit is actively being populated with posts that protest Blizzard’s decision, and even popular Hearthstone casters Brian Kibler and Admirable have stepped down to show their solidarity with the Hong Kong pro. It remains to be seen how Blizzard deals with the entire situation because if they don’t, then this year’s BlizzCon may be quite awkward for the company.