Blizzard is facing controversy after the company took action against Hearthstone pro player, Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai.
Blitzchung was removed from Blizzard Taiwan’s Grandmasters tournament and had his winnings withheld after stating “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” during a livestream. The gamer has also been banned from Hearthstone esports for 12 months.
Blizzard’s response comes from the desire to remain inoffensive to mainland China’s players and government, but the company has now faced huge criticism online.
The hashtag “#BoycottBlizzard” quickly blew up social media following the announcement, with thousands of people taking issue with Blizzard’s reaction to the political views of the streamer.
Gamers around the world are now using the Overwatch character, Mei, as a symbol of protest and to support Hong Kong protestors. Mei, who comes from Xi’an, China, is being used to stand up against Chinese rule and also to say a big “eff you” to Blizzard.
Fan art of the character has made its way to every corner of the internet, with Reddit pages r/HongKong [via Kotaku] and r/Overwatch getting flooded with peaceful protests.
Over on Twitter, “Boycott Blizzard” and “Free Hong Kong” are being shared alongside some honestly beautiful artwork of Mei.
People are also sharing screenshots of them unsubscribing to Blizzard, with new reports claiming that Blizzard is now disallowing people cancelling their accounts.
It’s not yet clear how the situation will progress from here, but it seems as though the fallout from Blizzard Taiwan isn’t going anywhere fast.
In a statement regarding the original issue, Blizzard said: ““Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone esports and we take tournament rule violations very seriously. After an investigation, we are taking the necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.”
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard