Video game publisher Blizzard has reignited the controversy surrounding its decision to ban professional Hearthstone player blitzchung from Hearthstone tournaments at its annual gaming convention – Blizzcon 2019.
The event opened with president J.Allen Brack taking to the stage and apologizing for moving “too quickly” and being “slow to talk” when banning blitzchung for showing his support for the pro-democracy Hong Kong protestors.
Within minutes of making the speech, Brack was slammed for the “empty,” “non-apology,” which despite being about the banning of blitzchung and the ensuing controversy where Blizzard was accused of acting to appease the communist Chinese government, contains no mention of blitzchung, China, or Hong Kong.
Brack’s speech comes less than a month after Blizzard drew similar ire for its previous statement on the blitzchung ban where it said: “China had no influence on our decision.” Many gamers were skeptical of the claim and the denial drew further backlash against the company.
It also comes just a few days after some Blizzard employees said they were dreading Blizzcon and can’t wait for it to be over. Some of these employees said that Blizzcon is usually a positive experience for them but their concerns over protests had “poisoned” their anticipation for the event.