The Overwatch League’s Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Shanghai Dragons, and Hangzhou Spark have reportedly announced that they’ll refuse to participate in any activities including Seoul Dynasty’s main DPS, Saebyeolbe. This decision comes after controversial comments were made on Saebyeolbe’s stream regarding the political status of Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the freedom of speech on Chinese streaming platforms.
On April 14, Saebyeolbe posted a handwritten apology note to his Instagram account, apologizing to the Chinese Overwatch community for controversial remarks made on his Douyu livestream. Clips of the incident have since been deleted, but the remarks were allegedly based around the perceived lack of freedom of speech on Chinese streaming platforms surrounding the political climate of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Today, two weeks after the initial incident, the managers and owners of all four Chinese organizations in the Overwatch League posted on Weibo that they’ll be boycotting all activities involving Saebyeolbe and have not said what actions would need to take place for the boycott to be lifted. Notably, all of these teams have only said that they’re boycotting Saebyeolbe and not the Dynasty, meaning that Seoul would, in theory, be able to play against the Chinese organizations if they fielded a different DPS player.
A statement made by Shanghai Dragons general manager Van further outlines the extent of the boycott. The Dragons won’t partake in any activities involving Saebyeolbe, according to Van. This includes scrims, commercial activities, and interviews. The statement also acknowledged that Saebyeolbe made an official apology but claimed it wasn’t sincere enough to warrant the lifting of the boycott.
Activision Blizzard has yet to comment on the situation.
Update May 4 7:05am CT:
A translation of the initial comments made by Saebyeolbe on his Twitch stream was posted to Twitter by community translator gatamchun. The translator confirms that the translation omits some sections of the clip that could not be heard due to poor audio quality.
The translation confirms that Saebyeolbe objected to the “One China” policy on his Douyu stream, by referring to Taiwan and Hong Kong as independent countries. The “One China” policy states that Taiwan and Hong Kong are part of an inalienable China and are not separate countries. His managers also allegedly stated to him that if he “wanted to earn Chinese money, you have to become a Chinese dog”.