October 16, 2019

Blizzard bans Hearthstone Collegiate team for six months

Activision Blizzard has banned American University Hearthstone players for six months for holding up a “Free Hong Kong” poster during an official stream.

Three American University Hearthstone players expressed their solidarity and support for Hong Kong protestors and fellow Hearthstone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai. Blizzard’s decision to ban the AU players comes nearly one week after an on-screen protest.

Blizzard Bans University Players for Six Months

During Week 4 of the Fall 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Championships; players GiantDwarf, TJammer and Xcelsior were in violation of section 7.1.B of the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Rules for engaging in behavior disruptive to official esports broadcast. The players are disqualified from the ongoing tournament and will be ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 6 months, beginning from October 8th, 2019 and extending to April 8th, 2020. Following the 6 month suspension, the players may, at their discretion, continue to participate in Hearthstone esports.

Following initial silence over their actions, Blizzard has informed the players of their six-month ban. In an email statement to the players, Blizzard banned the player for violating the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Fall 2019 rules.

Blizzard has banned the collegiate players for six months with the ban ending on April 8, 2020.

Why Did Blizzard Ban the Players?

A screengrab from the official Hearthstone live stream.

American University players Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark, and TJammer held up a sign reading “Free Hong Kong, boycott Blizz” during an October 8 live stream on the official Hearthstone channel.

The players’ actions were in solidarity for the Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors and more specifically to support Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai. Blizzard had banned blitzchung for one year, a decision they later announced as hasty, changing the punishment to six months.

Blizzard reduced blitzchung’s ban to six months from one year. Image Credit: Blizzard

Despite a similar protest as blitzchung, Blizzard did not immediately punish the college players. Blizzard’s punishment for the American University players comes nearly one week after their infringements.

In a statement to USGamer following their actions, the team called out Blizzard for its hypocritical stance on the issue.

We feel it’s hypocritical for Blizzard to punish Blitzchung but not us. The response from Blizzard shows that as soon as the messaging is out of the view of China they don’t care about ‘political’ messaging.

—American University Hearthstone players to USGamer

The Players were aware of the consequences of their actions.

Blizzard is under public scrutiny following their recent actions and recently canceled an Overwatch Launch event at Nintendo World Store NYC. The Non-Profit organization ‘Fight for the Future’ will hold a Blizzcon 2019 protest in opposition to blitzchung’s suspension. Blizzcon 2019 takes place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3.

Written by Rohan Somal

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