Several Blizzard employees staged a walkout this week in protest of the company’s decision to ban a pro Hearthsone player who expressed support for the liberation of Hong Kong. According to The Daily Beast, a small number group of Blizzard employees left their buildings on Tuesday and gathered around the orc statue that sits in front of Blizzard’s HQ in Irvine, California. Some of the employees commented on Blizzard’s decision to ban Ng Wai Chung, the Hearthstone player who’s better known as “blitzchung.”
The Daily Beast first reported on the Blizzard walkout and said a “small group” of employees participated. An image shared on Reddit by someone who claimed to be a Blizzard employee gave an idea of the size of the group that participated with many of the employees using umbrellas just as one might see in a Hong Kong protest. Current Blizzard employees reportedly verified the authenticity of the photo to The Daily Beast.
Blizzard’s controversial situation started when blitzchung voiced support for Hong Kong during a post-match Hearthstone stream where he called for Hong Kong’s liberation. The company’s response to this was to remove the player from the Grandmasters competition, take away the prize money he’d already won, and to ban him from participating in Hearthstone esports for the next year.
An employee spoke to The Daily Beast and said Blizzard’s decision to ban the pro player wasn’t a surprising one.
“The action Blizzard took against the player was pretty appalling but not surprising,” the Blizzard employee told The Daily Beast. “Blizzard makes a lot of money in China, but now the company is in this awkward position where we can’t abide by our values.”
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
Other forms of protest took place like the one referenced in the tweet above. Plaques surrounding the orc statue which expressed values like “Every Voice Matters” were covered up.
Epic Games recently clarified its own stance on this type of situation by saying it wouldn’t ban its players for expressing their beliefs on politics or human rights even if those views were expressed during official Fortnite events.