People are furious after Blizzard Entertainment suspended Hearthstone player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung for expressing support for Hong Kong during an official tournament broadcast. Gamers are calling for a boycott of Blizzard games — and now, some are turning Overwatch hero Mei into a symbol of the Hong Kong resistance.
A post yesterday on the r/HongKong subreddit suggested people turn Mei, a Chinese Overwatch hero, into a “pro-democracy symbol” to get “Blizzard’s games banned in China.” (China already censors Winnie the Pooh after the internet began associating the character with president Xi Jinping.) The post has been upvoted more than 12,000 times, and has more than 300 comments, plenty of which are images of Mei supporting Hong Kong. The movement has spread outward into Twitter and elsewhere.
Hey, Blizzard.— spooky mommy riz (@PearlteaRizzy) October 9, 2019
Mei from Overwatch says:
"Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" pic.twitter.com/4VraKTrufc
Blizzard banned pro Hearthstone winner for supporting free Hong Kong and took away his prize money. It would be SUCH A SHAME if Mei became a symbol of Hong Kong democracy and got #Overwatch banned in China like Pooh did— Wenqing Yan (@Yuumei_Art) October 9, 2019
#FreeHongKong #MeiWithHongKong #MeiSupportsHongKong pic.twitter.com/yPum1ZTQqH
Players have also continued to post screenshots of themselves uninstalling Blizzard games and closing their accounts. The #BoycottBlizzard hashtag remains active, with new tweets generated nearly every second.
On Oct. 8, Blizzard suspended blitzchung for using his post-game interview on Oct. 6 to support protesters engaging in ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Blitzchung has been banned from Hearthstone esports for a year, and will not earn the $10,000 in prize money he won during the season. Two Taiwanese casters who appeared on the broadcast have also been fired.
Blizzard said Blitzchung’s statement violated a tournament rule forbidding players from doing anything that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard’s image.”
Blizzard’s decision to ban blitzchung comes after the NBA distanced itself from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who tweeted (and then deleted) support for the Hong Kong protesters. Media companies in China, including Tencent (which has a 4.9 percent stake in Activision Blizzard), said they will temporarily suspend NBA preseason broadcasts following Morey’s tweets.
Correction: We’ve updated this story with the correct order of blitzchung’s name.