Blizzard’s treatment of a Hong Kong pro-democracy supporter during an esports tournament has led to Overwatch’s Mei becoming a protest symbol.
After Hearthstone esports winner Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai used his platform to speak out in support of the pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong, many fans have vowed to boycott game publisher Blizzard until they reinstate him.
Ng Wai made his protest at the end of a livestream, after which he (and the two people hosting the stream) was thrown out of the tournament, banned for 12 months, and he had all his prize money taken back.
He’s been unrepentant about his actions though and has inspired many to call for a boycott of Activision Blizzard in general, with the hashtag #Blizzardboycott trending on Twitter.
Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck. https://t.co/rJBeXUiwYS
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) October 8, 2019
Video game boycotts don’t have a good history of being stuck to but, although it’s back now, yesterday the Blizzard subreddit was shut down in protest and the Hearthstone community has become dominated by fans insisting they will never play a Blizzard game again.
That anger also been evident on Twitter, with even U.S. politicians and ex-Blizzard developers joining in, with many showing evidence of themselves cancelling subscriptions and pre-orders.
Not everyone at Blizzard agrees with what happened.
Both the "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters" values have been covered up by incensed employees this morning. pic.twitter.com/I7nAYUes6Q
— Kevin Hovdestad (@lackofrealism) October 8, 2019
Hearthstone players in the U.S. held up a banner saying, ‘Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz’ during their own esports tournament, while a statue at Blizzard’s Californian campus that displays mottos including ‘think globally’ and ‘every voice matters’ have been covered up by disgruntled employees.
By far the most ingenious response though has been fans purposefully using Mei from Overwatch, who is Chinese, as a protest symbol for the pro-democracy campaign.
Their hope is that she’ll become popular enough with the wider movement that Chinese authorities will take note and ban or censor Overwatch, which is made by Blizzard.
Let's get back at Blizzard by making Mei a pro-democracy symbol! Courtesy of r/HongKong#HongKongProtest #BoycottBlizzard pic.twitter.com/vYNVBCgMxM
— I'm tired (@opinion505) October 8, 2019
If we are gonna do it, we are gonna do it big: Mei becomes the icon of Hong Kong revolution! from HongKong