The recent controversies with Blizzard have now drawn in US politicians. In a bipartisan letter, five US politicians urge Blizzard to reconsider their recent banning of Blitzchung.
In early October, Blizzard decided to ban Hearthstone pro-player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai after the gamer made controversial statements on stream. His comments were in support of the recent protests in Hong Kong. Two casters who were part of the stream also got fired by Blizzard. The company also withheld Blitzchung’s prize money that he recently earned. He was ban from taking part in any Blizzard competition for a year.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the conflict with mainline China and Hong Kong. Not long after Blitzchung’s banning, there was a large outcry from the gaming community. Most were in support of Blitzchung, and many found Blizzard’s decision to be unreasonable. A large number of people saw Blizzard’s decision as it not wanting to offend the Chinese government.
#BoycottBlizzard trended on Twitter, with many people swearing off all Blizzard products unless they reverse their judgment on Blitzchung. The pressure was too much for the company, and they soon went back on their decision. Blitzchung now has a six-month suspension rather than a one-year ban, and he gets his reward money. The casters’ termination also became a six-month suspension.
For many people, this wasn’t enough. Many fans and commentators believe that Blizzard’s reverse of actions are hollow words and don’t mean much. The company has yet to speak out against the actions of China.
It seems as if the controversy became so big, that even US politicians have requested Blizzard to reverse their actions. In a bipartisan letter signed by five Democrats and Republicans, it calls out against Blizzard’s actions. The letter says that Blizzard’s decisions could have a “chilling effect” on the gaming community. It also claims that the Chinese government is “pressuring American businesses to help stifle free speech.”
However, the letter specifically detailed Blitzchung’s one-year ban, and not being allowed to have his prize money. No mention of Blizzard’s recent reverse of actions. It is unknown if the politicians who signed the letter were aware at the time of the signing that Blizzard reduced Blitzchung’s banning and plan to give him his prize money.
The politicians who signed the letter are United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).