College Hearthstone Players Hold Up 'Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizzard' Sign On Stream

Illustration for article titled College Hearthstone Players Hold Up 'Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizzard' Sign On Stream

Blizzard’s acquiescence to the power of the Chinese government/market has seen the company eat a lot of shit over the last 24 hours. So it was, depending on how you look at it, either the worst or most perfect time imaginable to try and broadcast the American Collegiate Hearthstone Championship.


During tonight’s stream of the match between Worcester Polytechnic Institute and American University, as the game came to a close the American University team held up a banner reading “FREE HONG KONG, BOYCOTT BLIZZ, which was visible for a few seconds before the camera hurriedly switched views and was left lingering awkwardly on the WPI players.

You can see the sign come out at 51:38 in the video below:

If I was at Blizzard, and was in any way connected with anything going on with BlizzCon—the company’s annual fan convention, which takes place in just three weeks—I would be getting a little sweaty about now. There are only so many cameras you can switch off and subreddits you can close.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs



Not sure why I’m wasting time attempting to fight internet mob rage but I’m sorry folks, you are all morons.

I don’t enjoy name calling but this is some serious nonsense that keeps rolling everywhere and it’s just complete BS and you should all be ashamed for promoting this, especially you Luke

Blizzard is not bending to any Chinese overlords, they aren’t doing this to earn/save any future income and you all are asking to boycott them over the most basic of business practices in the world, I’m fine if you want to boycott them for their crappy Activision-led business practices, Blizz is not what it used to be but this story just has nothing to do with Blizz or China at all

A participant in a (e-)sporting event broke the rules that every event in the entire civilized world shares, you don’t make political statements in a sporting event

That doesn’t mean Blizzard supports China’s oppression of Hong Kong or is bending to its will to try and ‘silence democracy’ on its behalf.

Very few conflicts in this world are cut and dry ‘good vs evil’ despite many people trying to portray them that way but no one is attempting to say China is doing the right thing (except the Chinese) and certainly not Blizzard

If Blizzard let this slide then other people would abuse this for other political statements, some which you may not agree with but then who are you to complain?

If Ronaldo or Messi would remove their shirts to reveal ‘free Hong Kong’ shirt underneath during a match they would get a red card instantly from the ref without the ref even seeing what’s written on it and their respective team managers would go do damage control and claim on tv that ‘Their actions are personal and don’t represent the values of our team’, it doesn’t have anything to do with morality and right or wrong, its just how these things work.

This story is exactly the same, some guys decided to ride the wave and troll Blizzard because clearly they don’t enjoy seeing these things and they just do the same thing any competition does when someone tries to do shit on camera, change to a different camera to hide it, attempt to not give credit to the provocateur, just like they do when someone runs into a soccer field or on the Eurovision contest stage

If Blizz would endorse it somehow you would all be praising them or hating on them for trying to cash in on it

Just think what you would do if that message would have said anything you don’t like instead and you’ll understand what a hypocrite you are

TL;DR - Blizzard did nothing wrong (in this scenario), you are all just echo-chambering outrage over nothing

Can’t wait to see the dumb protests people are gonna do about it now at Blizzcon and the outrage when security removes them from the premises...