This weekend Hearthstone pro Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai got people talking when during a post-match interview on the official Asia Pacific Hearthstone Grandmasters livestream, he called for Hong Kong’s freedom. Blitzchung appeared on the stream on a gas mask and goggles, similar to what Hong Kong protesters are wearing. He shouted, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”
Protests started in June in Hong Kong after a proposal of a law that allowed the extradition of suspect criminals to mainland China for trial. The protesters believe this would undermine their judicial independence, which has a “one country, two systems” agreement. The bill was suspended, but the protests have continued, now asking for more autonomy and democracy.
The casters on the stream hid away during the announcement and the stream cut to commercials. A clip of the video was posted on Reddit and then deleted.
Blitzchung made a statement after the stream: “As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention. I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn’t focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”
Blitzchung has been removed from Hearthstone Grand Masters and all of his prize money has been rescinded. Blitzchung’s full match versus Dawn just before the interview has been deleted too.
According to esports consultant Rod Breslau, both of the casters were fired.
There is some irony in discussing rulings relating to damaging Blizzard’s image when the reaction online to this ruling has shown that damage is being done to its image, but not in the way they suspect.