Last week, Blizzard courted controversy with its heavy-handed punishment for pro Hearthstone player blitzchung. For his pro-Hong Kong statement in a post-match interview, Blizzard forfeited blitzchung’s prize money, and banned him in taking part in tourneys for a year. After facing community backlash, it looks like the company walking back a little on that decision.
Company president J. Allen Brack issued a statement which says that blitzchung will get to keep his prize money. His suspension will also be reduced from a full year to six months. The two casters who were fired will also be suspended for six months instead.
Part of Brack’s statement reads “our relationships in China had no influence on our decision”. He goes on to say that if blitzchung had expressed the opposite, he would still be punished the same way. The reasoning behind this is that post-game broadcasts should remain focused on the game, and shouldn’t be used to voice “divisive social or political views”.
Despite the official statement, there are others who have pointed out that Blizzard has officially endorsed divisive views before. Case in point were the Blizzard Pride Pin from back in May of this year alone, and the Pride Day Sweatband from last year.