Blizzard Won't Repeal Blitzchung's Ban

Blizzard will not be reversing the ban against a pro Hearthstone player who was punished for voicing a political, pro-Hong Kong message during an official event, according to Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. It also won’t be repealing the bans levied against two Taiwanese casters who were a part of the same stream where Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was banned for his message where he called for the liberation of Hong Kong. PC Gamer was able to confirm with Brack that the bans won’t be reversed and learned more about why that’ll be the case.

The opening ceremony of BlizzCon 2019 began with Brack taking the stage to offer a sort-of apology for the controversy that centered around Blitzchung’s ban in the past few weeks. Brack apologized for Blizzard not living up to its “high standards” the company has set for itself while also saying “we failed in our purpose,” though the actual details of the controversy were never mentioned. There was no mention of Hearthstone, Blitzchung, or Hong Kong, and the event continued as planned afterwards while different prominent Blizzard directors and developers reminded people to be good to one another amid the announcements.

PC Gamer said it was contacted by one of the casters who’d been banned for six months after the first day of BlizzCon. The unnamed caster said they’d only expressed themselves during the stream and didn’t understand why they were banned, a reference to Brack’s on-stage comments about “everyone’s right to express themselves.” Speaking to PC Gamer afterwards, Brack confirmed that the bans wouldn’t be reversed and said the decision was about keeping the broadcasts focused on the game and not Blitzchung’s specific pro-Hong Kong message.

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“We want the official broadcasts, which are a small percentage of the overall content that gets created, to be about the games,” Brack told PC Gamer. “And we want those to be focused on the games. Again, it's not about the content of Blitzchung's message. It's about the fact that it was not around the games. If we hadn't taken action, if we hadn't done something, you can imagine the trail that would be in our future around doing interviews. They would become times for people to make a statement about whatever they wanted to, on whatever issue. That's just a path that we don't want to go down. We really want the content of those official broadcasts to be focused on the games, and keep that focus.”

As for the casters, Brack said Blizzard decided to take action against them because they failed to keep the broadcast focused on the game. He added that Blizzard has already lessened the punishment against the casters – the initial punishment was that the company wouldn’t work with them anymore, but it’s now been reduced to a six-month ban.