With BlizzCon 2019 set to kick off on Friday, fans plan to ramp up their campaign against Blizzard over its decision to punish competitive players for expressing solidarity with the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
The nonprofit organization Fight for the Future formed a new campaign called Gamers for Freedom and said Thursday that plans to protest outside of the Anaheim Convention Center in California, where the gaming convention will take place. The goal is to put pressure on Blizzard Entertainment in the hopes that the company will reevaluate its stances concerning its recent business decisions that were allegedly made to appease China, most notably the company’s decision to ban competitive Hearthstone player, Chung Ng Wai after he voiced his support for the Hong Kong protesters.
The group plans to protest outside the arena for approximately three hours, starting from noon PT until 3 p.m. PT. Even before the protest, the organization hopes to hand out 4,000 pro-Hong Kong protester T-shirts to BlizzCon attendees and protesters alike. TheT-shirt’s design, which you can see below, features Overwatch character Mei with the caption “Mei with Hong Kong.” According to Fight for the Future, the T-shirts were donated by Freedom Hong Kong to “raise awareness of the series of Hong Kong protests against totalitarianism.”
Among those organizing the protest is Casey Chambers. A member of the American University Hearthstone team, who Blizzard recently banned from competitive play after his team held up a “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz” sign during a Hearthstone tournament livestream. We recently spoke to Chambers on BootUp: A video game podcast, and he mentioned that the group will be assembling in a legally protected area near the event and that the protesters will not be blocking anyone from attempting to enter BlizzCon. Chambers also mentioned that a lawyer would be present during the protest.
The protest at BlizzCon adds to the ongoing and immense pressure against Blizzard from gamers, activists, and even politicians. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) penned a bipartisan letter to Activision Blizzard’s CEO, urging the company to re-evaluate its stance on political speech about the Hong Kong protests.
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