The BlizzCon protests are a full go and apparently includes free merch. Earlier last month, Blizzard found themselves at the center of controversy once more following a decision to ban a pro Hearthstone Hong Kong players after he made a public statement of support during an interview. Following the ban and his removal of prize money, more pro players lent their voice in support while the community came alive to protest Blizzard's decision. Since then, the ban was reversed and other consequences ensued, but it looks like just hours before the BlizzCon 2019 opening ceremony, the BlizzCon protests are heating up.
We have some of our staff boots on ground during the celebration today but it's our friends over at PC Gamer that captured the interesting image seen above. Stickers and Mei merch is being handed out with police on the scene. Hong Kong flags are also seen aplenty with even more Mei representation, an Overwatch hero that has found herself the symbol of these protests.
As mentioned in our previous coverage, the tag #BoycottBlizzard began with a post-match interview with Hong Kong Hearthstone pro Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai where he called for the liberation of Hong Kong from China in the midst of a massive protest going on now. In the interview, the pro player could be seen wearing a gas mask and goggles, which is the garb seen in protesters actively protesting. According to recent reports, he removed the mask and proclaimed "Liberate Hong King, a revolution of our age!" Since then, the interview has been deleted (though can still be seen below) and Blizzard has removed both the pro player's place in the league as well as his winnings.
"As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention," Chung mentioned in a statement. "I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn't focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue."
With BlizzCon now in session, it will be interesting to see how the company tackles this particular mess now that it's reached such a viral level.