Blizzard head J. Allen Brack apologized onstage at BlizzCon for “acting too quickly and communicating too late” in the context of Hearthstone pro Blitzchung’s pro-Hong Kong protest during an official Hearthstone stream. He does not mention the incident by name.
“Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together during a difficult Hearthstone esports moment. We didn’t do that. We acted too fast and to make matters worse, we waited too long to communicate with all of you,” he said. brack. “We have not lived up to the strict standards we set for ourselves and we have failed in our goal of bringing people closer together. I am sorry for that and I accept responsibility for that. We will do better in the future.”
Brack does not go into detail about the incident in question. A professional Hearthstone player appeared at a post-match interview wearing a gas mask and goggles and chanted his support for Hong Kong protesters. This was on the Taiwanese stream of a major official Hearthstone tournament. The two interviewers were fired, Blitzchung did not receive his $3,000 prize money and was banned from official tournaments for a year.
A few days later, the suspension was reduced to six months and Blitzchung was allowed to keep his prize money. The casters have been suspended instead of fired. In the accompanying text, Blizzard stated that his ties to China had nothing to do with the sentence. Not only does Activision Blizzard do business in China, but five percent of the company’s shares are owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent.
Blizzard has continued to use BlizzCon to announce Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, new expansions for World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, and a new autochess game mode for Hearthstone, among others.
The BlizzCon 2019 Opening Ceremony – Video Starts At The Time Of Brack’s Speech