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The Hearthstone team that protested Blizzard hasn't been reprimanded

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Shortly after Blizzard removed a player from the Hearthstone Grandmasters for calling for Hong Kong's liberation, the American University college team held up a banner that read "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz" during a match. Not only were they offered another match, there were apparently no consequences at all. 

One of the team's players took to Reddit to highlight what they consider hypocrisy on Blizzard's part, claiming that it's evidence the company treats people differently, depending on their region.

"They are hesitant to suppress free speech when it happens in America, on an English language stream, but will throw casters' and players' livelihoods under the bus if they are from Hong Kong or Taiwan. It should also dispel the idea that Blitzchung was punished for bringing politics into Hearthstone, because our message was clearly political and we weren't touched. Blitzchung was punished because China was watching."

American University's protest was different in that it specifically called out Blizzard, as well as calling for Hong Kong's freedom, so it arguably crossed two lines. The disparity in Blizzard's reaction is stark, though it's also worth noting that this happened after it was already under pressure from players, so it could also be a reaction to that. 

While the team has been offered another match, they've decided to drop out of the tournament. Blizzard has not been in touch, team member Casey Chambers told us via email, and the team won't be participating in future tournaments until changes its decision in regards to Hong Kong and Ng Wai "blitzchung" Chung's removal from the Grandmasters. 

The Blizzard boycott has been underway for several days now, though Blizzard remains silent on the matter. On the subreddit, the top posts continue to support Hong Kong while condemning the company, with Overwatch's Mei even becoming a protest symbol.

Fraser Brown
Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.