Epic Games founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, comes forward saying that Epic Games supports the rights of Fortnite players and creators to speak about politics and human rights.
Sweeney’s statement comes close on the heels of Blizzard banning Blitzchung, a professional Hearthstone player, for one year. The player attended a post-match interview wearing goggles and a mask in solidarity of Hong Kong protestors.
Tencent Gaming, a China-based multinational conglomerate, owns a 5% stake in Activision Blizzard and nearly 40% in Epic Games.
Epic Games’ stance on free speech
According to Sweeney, Epic Games supports players and content creators who speak about politics and human rights. He confirmed that Epic Games will take no action against players voicing their political opinions in official post-game interviews.
Tencent Gaming invested $330 million into Epic Games in 2012 and bought a 40% stake ownership in the company. This acquisition also led to Tencent appointing two representatives to the Epic Board of Directors.
Despite Tencent Gaming owning a significant share in Epic Games, Tim Sweeney is still the controlling shareholder and CEO for Epic Games.
When asked if Epic Games would avoid severing ties with a community figure like Blizzard did with BlitzChung, Sweeney assured fans that it will not be the case.
“Yes, absolutely.” says Tim. “That will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder.”
Blizzard defends their decision to ban Blitzchung
Blizzard banned Blitzchung for his political views in an official interview and received backlash from fans and community figures.
The US-based Game Developer defended their decision to ban the player by citing the GrandMasters Official Competition Rules v1.4 p.12, Section 6.1 (o).
Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD.
Blitzchung’s ban results in massive support from the community, players, and even Blizzard’s own employees.
The image shows employees holding umbrellas and standing near a statue outside the company’s headquarters.
Not everyone at Blizzard agrees with what happened.
Both the “Think Globally” and “Every Voice Matters” values have been covered up by incensed employees this morning. pic.twitter.com/I7nAYUes6Q
— Kevin Hovdestad (@lackofrealism) October 8, 2019
Earlier in the day, Blizzard employees defaced written company values on a statue outside Blizzard headquarters as a sign of protest against company actions.
Senator Ron Wyden criticized Blizzard’s decision to favor monetary gains and censorship.
Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck. https://t.co/rJBeXUiwYS
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) October 8, 2019
Communities all over the world are disappointed in Blizzard’s decisions and bolstered by Epic Games’ siding. Fans now wait for news of any official response from companies about this uproar.
Written by Rohan Samal