Epic Games Dunks on Blizzard, Says It Supports Free Speech

Mei and

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone and Overwatch developer Blizzard, in particular, added fuel to the already-blazing wildfire of controversy over the weekend when it opted to ban competitive Hearthstone player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung not only from participating in future tournaments but from receiving any prize money he otherwise would have been owed.

In the since-deleted tweet, Jayne said while he recognized Blizzard's right to enforce its rules, he condemns "the censorship and severity of consequences brought against an individual who was campaigning for a human right social movement".

He wore a face mask, which was a reference to a government-issued ban the prevented such face masks while protesting, later saying "Liberation Hong Kong, revolution of our age!"

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A small group of Activision Blizzard employees gathered outside headquarters in Irvine, Calif., on Tuesday in support of Chung, The Daily Beast reported.

The reason Kibler is turning down the Grandmasters finals is his belief that Blitzchung's punishment is "deeply rooted" in the political situation between Hong Kong and China and Blizzard's interest in the region.

In the blog post announcing Blitzchung's ban, Blizzard said he had violated the rules of the competition by making statements that were harmful to the company.

The group of about 30 workers, with protests filtering in and out all day, stood around the main statue of an Orc warrior that decorates Blizzard's main plaza.

"The action Blizzard took against the player was pretty appalling but not surprising", a long-time Blizzard employee told The Daily Beast during an interview. The protesters in Hong Kong began carrying umbrellas to guard against the use of pepper spray by riot police. The ongoing protests have already garnered worldwide attention, with the territory's increasingly complex relationship with China's communist government as a core issue.

A purported photo of the walkout was posted to the Hearthstone subreddit yesterday by someone claiming to be a Blizzard employee.

Blizzard's response has also garnered attention from United States. lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter. What started out as silent, anonymous acts of protest have now graduated into more visible and active action against Blizzard and those in charge.

"Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party", Wyden tweeted.

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