Blizzard employees stage walkout over Hearthstone pro-player ban

Yolanda Curtis
October 11, 2019

The hope for many is for China to ban the character or possibly the game, as they did previously with Winnie the Pooh - resulting in a significant loss of revenue for the publisher. "Revolution of our age!"

A photo shared with The Daily Beast and posted on Imgur showed several employees holding umbrellas - an object that has become symbolic of the protests in Hong Kong.

Another said: "I'm disappointed".

Phoenix Bruneau, 15, is boycotting Hearthstone. This blog post positions the violation of this rule as the sole reason for the action taken, but alongside recent pressure that the National Basketball Association got from the Chinese government due to similar support for Hong Kong protests many drew the same conclusion. According to esports journalist Rod Breslau, the players felt it was "hypocritical" to not levy some punishment against them while Blitzchung waits for his year-long ban to expire. I am opposed to Blizzard's fear of China and the silencing of Blitzchung. I will not be a smiling face on camera that tacitly endorses this decision. "I'm not [regretful] of what I said". This is true for World of Warcraft, Diablo, and the game that sparked this whole controversy, Hearthstone.


Fans are now using Blizzard characters to voice support for the Hong Kong Protests, with Overwatch's Mei being a prominent figure in memes and online material.

Eventually, the bill was dropped, but protests have continued as an anti-government, pro-democracy movement. He was wearing a gas mask and goggles, the same equipment worn by Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrators, when he made the statement, The Guardian reported.

Blitzchung has been taking part in the protests, which he said sometimes got in the way of his work on the Grandmasters match.

"I do not have to agree with the actions or policies of any employer, partner, or service to continue to be affiliated with them". It could cause me [a] lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life.


Hours after Blizzard announced Blitzchung's ban, a former Blizzard employee tweeted that some backlash seemed to be brewing internally: Someone had covered up two of the company's key values - "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters" - enshrined on a statue at the company's headquarters.

"The heavy-handedness of it feels like someone insisted that Blizzard make an example of Blitzchung, not only to discourage others from similar acts in the future but also to appease those upset by the outburst itself", he said.

I doubt anyone woke up at the beginning of this week expecting Hearthstone to be at the centre of an worldwide incident, but I guess that reality is oftentimes stranger than we want to think it is.


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