Blizzard ignited controversy yesterday after banning pro Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai and subsequently firing the two casters—nicknamed Virtual and Mr. Yee— covering the event. Mr. Yee later addressed the situation on his stream, saying that his “hardwork has gone in vain.“
Mr. Yee was in tears while explaining his situation to his viewers, saying that he prepared a lot for the upcoming Overwatch Pacific Showdown and the Hearthstone Grandmasters playoffs. But he said that he won’t be allowed to work in Overwatch tournaments either, throwing the last few years of preparation away.
Some on the Hearthstone subreddit are pointing out that Mr. Yee and Virtual aren’t completely innocent. Virtual and Yee allegedly instigated Blitzchung into saying the pro-Hong Kong slogan by saying, “say the eight words and we’ll close out,” or something to that effect. Most, however, still agree that the punishment was too severe.
The Hearthstone and Blizzard community has been up in arms about the situation, but this recent development has further inspired backlash. Some fans have even said that they’ll be pulling their support of Blizzard altogether.
This situation has even affected other professional esports scenes. Riot Games appeared to censor its casters from saying “Hong Kong” during its broadcasts of the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.