Blizzard has once again banned Hearthstone players for supporting Hong Kong, or as it puts it, expressing political opinions on an official channel. More specifically, it has banned the American University Hearthstone team from competition for six months after the team held up a "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz" sign during an official Blizzard livestream for the competitive card game. The team in question -- which consists of Corwin Dark, TJammer, and Casey Chambers -- revealed that they knew the ban was coming, however, interestingly it took Blizzard a week to handle the situation.
According to Blizzard, the team violated rule 7.1B, which says "participants may not take any action or perform any gesture directed at another Participant, Tespa Admin, or any other party or incite others to do the same which is abusive, insulting, mocking, or disruptive."
Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six month ban from competition. While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules. pic.twitter.com/mZStoF0e0t— Casey Chambers (@Xcelsior_hs) October 16, 2019
Blizzard has since provided the following comment on the matter to IGN:
"Thanks for reaching out. We strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, our official broadcast needs to be about the game and the competition, and to be a place where all are welcome. If we allow the introduction of personal views about sensitive issues into the channel, it ceases to be what it's meant for – esports. We have rules in place to support this, to which these competitors, as well as others at all levels, have agreed. They knowingly broke those rules and we've suspended them from Hearthstone esports for six months. The ruling is available here."
As you can see, this new statement more or less echoes the statement given over the Blitzchung ban that kicked off this colossal hot mess for Blizzard.
Of course, with BlizzCon only a couple weeks away, something tells me this situation is far from over and could very well get much worse for the company, who, at the moment, is sticking by its guns despite massive backlash across the board.