It seems that the 1 point that United States politicians can agree on is that Blizzard created a error in its actions against players who have spoken in help of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Some of the most prominent senators and representatives – from each sides of the aisle – have penned a joint letter urging Activision Blizzard chief Bobby Kotick to “reverse course” right after it suspended Hearthstone pro Ng Wai Chung, identified in-game as Blitzchung.
The letter is signed by Senators Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Florida, and Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida. It also bears the signatures of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey.
“We create to express our deep concern about Activision Blizzard’s selection to make player Ng Wai Chung forfeit prize cash and ban him from participating in tournaments for a year right after he voiced help for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong,” the complete letter (through Makena Kelly on Twitter) reads. “This selection is especially regarding in light of the Chinese government’s developing appetite for pressuring American organizations to assistance stifle no cost speech.”
That info is a bit out of date. Blizzard has decreased Blitzchung’s suspension to six months, and restored his prize winnings. But whilst Blizzard asserts that “China had no influence” on its original action, critics have remained unconvinced. Some Blizzard personnel reportedly even staged a walkout in protest of the company’s action.
“Because your enterprise is such a pillar of the gaming market, your disappointing selection could have a chilling impact on gamers who seek to use their platform to market human rights and standard freedoms,” the letter says.
“As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your enterprise need to choose no matter if to appear beyond the bottom line and market American values – like freedom of speech and believed – or to give into Beijing’s demands in order to preserve marketplace access. We urge you in the strongest terms to reconsider your selection with respect to Mr. Chung. You have the chance to reverse course. We urge you to take it.”