It hasn't been a good year for Blizzard's publicity department, has it. Diablo Immortal, tax dodging and now they've banned a Hearthstone esports player because they voiced support for Hong Kong's pro human rights protests during a livestream. This has, understandably, not gone down well with Western players who see it as not wanting to offend the Chinese government.
Yes, they even banned the two esports hosts who had nothing to do with it.In a post on the Hearthstone website, Blizzard claimed Blitzchung violated section 6.1 of its competition rules, which state that players cannot engage in any act that "brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image". The punishment for this is removal from Grandmasters and the total loss of the player's prize money, which is exactly what Blizzard has imposed on Blitzchung.
"Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters Season 2", the statement reads. "Additionally, Blitzchung is ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019 and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020."
Despite the two presenters covering their faces and quickly cutting to a commercial, Blizzard says it will "immediately cease working with both casters".
It's brought to light other offensive decisions, such as Tracer (the Overwatch character) being gay only in the West, but straight in Russia and China so as not to cause issues for those governments. Blizzard openly supports Pride in the US.