The co-chief executive of ESL has told staff to avoid discussing the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
In a Slack message seen by the Hong Kong Free Press (opens in new tab), Ralf Reichert told staff "to not actively engage in the discussion, especially on social media".
"All of you might have heard [about] the political discussions and strikes surrounding the situation in Hong Kong, China," he wrote on October 9. "As a global company being active in many countries around the globe, we naturally do abstain from political discussions and setting the best example by living our values.
"Therefore, we would like to suggest to not actively engage in the discussion, especially on social media," he said.
A spokesperson for ESL said that Reichert's message was a "reminder to ESL employees about the general social media policies that have been in place for many years".
"[It was a reminder that] we do not use ESL’s brand or platform for personal political statements, and to show respect for colleagues with views different than our own. ESL’s team members are of course free to harbor personal views on private social media accounts.”
The news follows Blizzard's suspension (opens in new tab) of Hearthstone Grandmaster Chung 'blitzchung' Ng Wai (opens in new tab), who called for Hong Kong's liberation in post-match interview (opens in new tab). Separately, Riot Games, which is owned by Chinese publisher Tencent, warned League of Legends streamers and players (opens in new tab) to avoid "sensitive topics" on the air. Tencent also owns a five percent stake in Blizzard.
Last month, ESL announced (opens in new tab) a partnership with Huya, a Chinese streaming service backed by Tencent, that will see ESL tournaments streamed in the country. Huya invested in ESL as part of the deal.