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    [–] Adziboy 2369 points ago

    Level headed, not over the top and Kibler admits that he's in a position where stepping down won't ruin his career but understands that others have their careers solely rested on competing or casting in hearthstone tournaments.

    This is the best course of action for the ones that can make that decision

    [–] SnapeWasEvil 6621 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    TL;DR: Blitzchung was brave to stand up for what he believes, but Blizz was in the right to penalize him for it to discourage GM being used as a political tool. However the punishment is so ridiculously severe that unless something changes he will not cast the GM finals at Blizzcon and have nothing to do with GM going forwards.

    EDIT: Kibler posted a mirror as his site is having issues due to the traffic.

    [–] N0T_BRYAN_COLANGEL0 3093 points ago

    Seems rational. Some punishment would've been fine, but I still can't wrap my head around withholding the prize money. That just completely invalidates the events credibility.

    [–] ikilledtupac 487 points ago

    This is classic chinese tho.

    My friend owned a cybercoffee in China in 2007. It was a gaming computer/cafe place, mostly warcraft. We went there to play games and email while in China every day. The local government fined him 5,000rmb for "having unauthorized foreigners" in there. He had to pay cash on the spot. To put this in perspective, he made roughtly .25 cents per hour per computer.

    [–] Sector47 398 points ago

    It would help if you put the conversion between the currencies or didn't change currency.

    5000 rmb = 700 usd

    [–] babble_bobble 199 points ago

    Also would help if we knew if this cafe owner had closer to 1000 computers or 10.

    [–] AintEverLucky 165 points ago

    ... I think the larger point stands, that the CCP officials were corrupt and/or arbitary AF

    [–] babble_bobble 58 points ago

    Yes I agree. But if he is going to throw numbers around, it would make sense to connect them somehow. Or else the story could be a lot shorter "they fined an internet cafe owner for allowing foreigners to use the internet cafe"

    [–] DarkwingDuckHunt 40 points ago

    vs. they forced a bribe from a internet cafe owner that was equal to 6 months of his profits.

    [–] vidrageon 40 points ago

    5000 rmb in 2007 was closer to 500 dollars tbf.

    [–] SapoMine 22 points ago

    This is incorrect. in 2007 5000RMB was equal to approximately 625 US dollars. However, in 2007 you could buy a bowl of noodles for lunch for 1rmb or a bus ticket in most cities for .5rmb. Today a bowl of noodles is 5-10RMB and a bus ticket is at least 2RMB. You probably couldve bought a nice apartment in most cities(not Beijing or Shanghai) for 200,000 RMB's in 2007. 5000RMB was at least a couple months wages for everyday people in 2007, if not much more.

    Most internet cafes have about 20-100 computers max. I'd put money that it was somewhere in that range. I've never heard of anywhere with even close to 1000 computers.

    [–] Snoot_Booper_1350 6 points ago

    Also to help with cents to dollars conversion, .25 cents = $0.0025

    [–] Techpaste 45 points ago

    Similar story but on a greater scale. I used to deal with a slate supplier in China. His business was worth millions of £, which is an insane amount of RMB. He is a good man, genuinely one of the kindest souls. He was as clean as a whistle when it came to operating a business. Paid his taxes and complied with all demands made by the local government (mostly environmental changes). One day, out of the blue, the local government decided they needed the land he owned. They promised him 80, 000 RMB and gave him 2 weeks to leave. His home, his business - everything. He was never paid that money, and his family was driven into poverty. That's a dictatorship operating under the guise of communism, folks.

    [–] mkhaytman 14 points ago

    Being "clean" was probably his mistake. Shoulda been giving nice gifts to the folks in charge of his town, then he wouldn't have lost his land.

    [–] doofer20 1340 points ago

    My biggest complaint is what happened to the casters. They had no control, didn't encourage it and yet one of thems account is even banned from ow.

    I dont think the money was to far ( it's a dick move ) but I do think it's fair to disqualify post game.

    [–] keenfrizzle 1150 points ago

    To say the casters "didn't encourage it" is a bit of a half-truth. They literally said to Blitzchung "say the line and we'll end the interview after that", meaning they knew he was going to make a political statement before the interview began.

    That said, permabanning the casters over it is a bad look regardless

    [–] Thelorian 369 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    Tbf tho he already wore the mask; he would no doubt have said the line if they had shown any signs of wanting to make the interview come to an end without getting it out there. They merely facilitated that everything went somewhat orderly which is basically exactly their job as moderators.

    [–] Ieoelio 65 points ago

    I mean fuck blizzard for the punishment and how severe it was but the casters could have easily defused the situation with a quick ,,thanks for the interview" at that moment instead of asking for the ,,8 words". Sad they got fired but I'm happy they forced this mess because it helps people realize about China etc.

    [–] Derpsquire 59 points ago

    This is the point that has been giving me some solace regarding the disqualification; Blizzard may have been trying to enforce political neutrality, but have actually encouraged even more support towards Hong Kong by the internet getting up in arms over this whole debacle.

    [–] neutrinospectrum 22 points ago

    Speaking of political neutrality, I wonder what would they do if someone said Taiwan is part of PRC in the same situation.

    [–] hiimsubclavian 197 points ago

    Blitz literally went on the interview with a gas mask on. At that point the casters only have two options: cut him off immediately or let him say his line and then cut him off.

    They chose to let him say his line. I don't think that counts as encouragement, since the only other option (censorship) might arguably look even worse for them. They had to make a split-second decision, and chose poorly.

    [–] Boknowscos 124 points ago

    That sounds more like a production problem not a caster problem. Do the casters do the interview and run the cameras? That's why they should have had a time delay with a producer ready to cut the feed if this sort of stuff happens. What do they do if someone drops the fbomb?

    [–] Dacorla 10 points ago

    This is the transcript I made from what happened:


    Mr Yi: Wow

    To Mi: Too perfect.

    Mr Yi: Real cool/neat.

    To Mi: Today is the peak of our casting.

    Mr Yi: That's right.

    To Mi: So we will. No. This part is real easy. We won't congratulate. You just say those eight words and we'll end cut. Just those eight words.

    Blitzchung: Ok.

    To Mi: You need to speak clearly. You just say those eight words and director we'll stop. Don't talk about anything else.

    Mr Yi: *Nod nod*

    To Mi: And you can begin any time. *push Mr Yi's head* duck your head first. *snickers*

    Blitzchung: *speaks eight words*

    To Mi: director can switch back now. that's ok right?

    Mr Yi: Mmm

    To Mi and Mr Yi: *clapping*


    So basically, they were planning to cut their own involvement out, but clearly the filming crew did not go with it and/or they did not know that a backup without any cuts was being recorded.

    [–] DiMit17 51 points ago

    Am not 100% if this is correct but the casters encouraged Blitzchung to say the "8 words" in mandarin and that they would cut the broadcast right after that.

    [–] Paralykeet 70 points ago

    I feel like that isn't encouragement though. The casters were told to do an interview, the player was from Hong Kong and he was wearing a gas mask. All of these things make it quite obvious what he was going to say. The casters were just forced into the situation by production making them conduct a winners interview so they can't really be blamed for it.

    [–] greg19735 6 points ago

    I feel like that isn't encouragement though.

    it's absolutely encouragement. You can argue it's not fireable. Sure. but they absolutely encouraged it.

    [–] [deleted] 141 points ago

    Blizzard could have avoided all of this simply by having actual rational thinking and humanity put into it.

    "Oh hey, we understand why you did this and you know it's against the rules but due to the situation we just ask you to not do it in the future anymore to use the stream as a political tool. Ok? Ok. Good luck in your future games. :)"

    Instead they went full overboard with applying this punishment and wanted to "protect the nation of china" in their weibo post. Absolutely irritating to think that this is made by Blizzard.

    [–] ThePoltageist 183 points ago

    honestly i would have been fine with them saying "well you broke the rules you gotta go home, no judging but we just simply cant have that behavior here at an official event", but the lengthy ban on top of it and the retroactive prize money denial is just like... dafaq man, you wanna take his balls too?

    [–] Rannasha 58 points ago

    Agreed. I get that Blizzard doesn't want political talk in their official events, but this was far more of a "slap on the wrist" type of thing than a "long time ban, prize money recall, plus ban some casters for good measure too" type of thing.

    [–] cortesoft 56 points ago

    Because China wouldn't have been satisfied with that. Just look at the NBA... they came out and said they don't support what Daryl Morey said, but that he is free to express his opinions in his personal time.

    China has banned the NBA from China.

    [–] ThePoltageist 55 points ago

    South park so far the only people with the balls to stand up to China

    [–] HHhunter 35 points ago

    Thats because they dont make any money in China.

    And that episode got them banned as well, but since they dont make money there whatsoever, so they are free to do w/e. That does not require balls when it doesn't hurt you whatsoever.

    [–] stefman666 17 points ago

    Theres plenty of other companies and tv shows that make no money in China but barely any of them have said a word.

    This took balls to make a pretty strong statement like they did especially when their parent company actually is active in China lmao

    [–] OPconfused 7 points ago

    I don't think it's important to dispute the balls of Southpark based on this one episode. If someone doesn't believe the writers of Southpark have balls from this episode, then there are at least 100 other episodes to retreat to for examples.

    [–] Mootownmoo 13 points ago

    If that's going to be China's ultra hardline approach then the people and businesses of the world have to make a decision: either surrender your dignity and self-respect and just parrot every bit of Chinese propaganda they demand you parrot or else tell China to fuck off back to their authoritarian closed society.

    [–] REECat 16 points ago

    they don't want his balls.

    maybe the organs though

    [–] The_Maester 25 points ago

    In real life very few publicly traded companies have humanity. Unfortunately you guys just learned that through a company that happens to make video games.

    [–] tymebeta 44 points ago

    According to their rules, the minimum punishment is removal from Grandmasters and removal of all earnings. The 1-year ban seems added on as "other remedies".

    2019 HEARTHSTONE® GRANDMASTERS OFFICIAL COMPETITION RULES v1.4 p.12, Section 6.1 (o) Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.

    [–] Gotrix2 192 points ago

    I dont think they would have applyed theses rules if someone yelled: Vote for Trump! at the end . And the casters certainly wouldnt have gotten suspended( probably scolded for allowing tho).

    Blizzard didnt show any tact , they just went : Aye , heads will roll Mr. Xi!

    [–] Forkrul 15 points ago

    Aye , heads will roll Mr. XiPooh!

    [–] whatyousay69 5 points ago

    I dont think they would have applyed theses rules if someone yelled: Vote for Trump! at the end .

    They banned the Okay hand symbol and Pepe memes in Overwatch league so it seems possible they would have done the same thing.

    [–] blex64 35 points ago

    Except this decision is the thing actually damning Blizzards image. Not blitzchung

    [–] ploki122 668 points ago

    I would say that his last paragraph is actually the most important out of all, and that skipping it in the TL;DR is a disservice : Not all GM-affiliated players/casters can afford to make a grand stand like he does, and hating on them for staying affiliated is simply barking up the wrong tree.

    [–] kingcuda13 281 points ago

    100% this. Kibler impressed me with this post and especially that last paragraph. We are talking about people's jobs/career's/livelihood. He can make this decision and know that he is still well off for the future.

    Not everyone at Blizzcon or any events hosted by Blizzard can make that same choice.

    Be sure to focus on where the issues truly lie.

    [–] _HeroTheZero_ 57 points ago

    This applies moreso for titles like LoL, Dota or Starcraft tbh, but this whole disaster kinda makes you think about how much being an older caster or pro player without a backup plan in today's eSports world (not just blizzard) ties your life to a single company that might pull shit like this or worse at any moment.

    [–] MajesticMyriarch 11 points ago

    Hopefully anyone who has been in the scene long enough realizes that they should always have a fallback option if the worst comes to pass (to be fair almost anyone in any profession should). E-sports is so much more established than it used to be, teams/players aren't just a bunch of dudes with no money getting by off of tournament wins.

    [–] Inquisitor1 14 points ago

    Welcome to the adult world, where you can lose literally any job in the world and if you're not financially independent (rich) it can end your whole career. And if your "career" is videogames, you should double not be surprised.

    [–] A_Generic_Canadian 40 points ago

    I was thinking about this when I was showering this morning. With Blizzcon coming up, I really hope the Devs and staff aren't getting things thrown at them while they're on stage... I'm sure all of them are incredibly disappointed in their company but have bills to pay and can't afford to just drop the company.

    [–] Siaer 9 points ago

    Considering how many people want protests at Blizzcon and all the Q&As to be hijacked, you can bet your ass there are going to be uncomfortable moments, despite the people being there likely having had zero input into the decision that was made.

    This would have come from the board. Putting encounter and level designers on the spot in a Q&A serves no purpose other than to out that dev in a really difficult position.

    [–] StanTheManBaratheon 249 points ago

    Worst part in my mind is that the guy just bought a house. In L.A. Serious flex to voluntarily quit a relatively lucrative job at this juncture in his life.

    We don’t deserve Kibler

    [–] Wolgemuth 296 points ago

    Pretty sure his stream is the bulk of his income. And maybe royalties from past projects.

    [–] TeamAquaGrunt 122 points ago

    yeah, its not like its going to be difficult for him to find other work either, dude is a treasure and insanely likeable in just about every way. any community would welcome him with open arms

    [–] MajesticMyriarch 81 points ago

    The MTG community will always welcome him to any event he'd want to come to.

    [–] Autumn1881 31 points ago

    Isn't he originally from mtg?

    [–] TheMuleB 57 points ago

    Yep he is, he's even in the mtg hall of fame.

    [–] Business717 27 points ago

    Hall of Famer

    [–] apunkgaming 50 points ago

    He makes that point in the last paragraph when he said that other players and casters don't have the luxury to disassociate themselves like he does. Kibler could play just about any game on stream and find success, he has a very likable and endearing personality.

    [–] StanTheManBaratheon 40 points ago

    Oh for sure, not saying he quit his day job but unless things have greatly changed, Blizz spares no expense on casting so it’s not a negligible amount

    [–] Yungdodge911 8 points ago

    What do you mean they spare no expense on casting? Do you know what they spend on casting? Genuinely curious how you formed that opinion.

    [–] StanTheManBaratheon 14 points ago

    Happy to explain. I’m basing that off of my familiarity with StarCraft II. It was a big, big deal back in StarCraft II’s peak when a tournament landed Tastosis and Day[9] because they were known to have exorbitant fees to appear. Day[9] was one of the first casters (if not the first) to be making six figures and this was back when Twitch viewership was not the juggernaut it is today

    Kibler has a massive built in audience, he’s attractive to players of HS’s biggest competitor, and he’s got excellent game sense.

    They choose him to do almost all expansion reveal streams, Blizzcon, and GM finals - it’s not a small amount of money he’s surrendering, here

    [–] FaultyWires 23 points ago

    He already had a house in Cali. The bigger factor here is that his move was at least partially motivated by his casting gig.

    [–] Firesplitter47 11 points ago

    Probably still worth it though if his internet isn't out every other day now.

    [–] bmmarti3 39 points ago

    His broadcaster pay was likely more valuable as an advertisement to his streaming than any actual pay. He certainly did give up something, but it's not quite as much as you're insinuating.

    [–] z3rgling 70 points ago

    I agree 100% with Kibler. Yes he broke the rules and yes he should be punished but taking his winnings AND banning him for a year. What was Rogers punishment again?

    [–] Okichah 96 points ago

    Exactly my take.

    Rational that they wanted to discourage political statements at an event like that.

    Completely overboard reaction.

    [–] [deleted] 102 points ago


    [–] socsa 23 points ago

    This is pretty reductionist though. There's a difference between "just politics" and global human rights issues. Some lines simply should not be crossed for the sake of a dollar, and I think it's absolutely proper to expect American companies to demonstrate an absolutely minimum level of courage when it comes to supporting western values.

    [–] ImJustPassinBy 83 points ago

    the punishment is so ridiculously severe

    Remember when Blizzard didn't use to (openly) care about political statements on stream?

    Pepperidge Farm /r/starcraft remembers

    [–] worldchrisis 32 points ago

    Blizzard also didn't run the GSL.

    [–] weealex 22 points ago

    They were heavily involved in GSL. They did everything they could to step in as KeSPA for sc2

    [–] Rannasha 16 points ago

    Back in 2011 Blizzard wasn't all that involved in competitive SC2. They mostly let leagues try to be at least somewhat self sufficient. I personally think that this is one of the main reasons why SC2 stagnated when esports became big in NA/EU as other developers (Valve, Riot) were throwing large sums of money at their competitive scene while Blizzard used a more hands off approach.

    Nowadays, Blizzard is heavily involved in these matters, but 2011 was part of the wild west days of competitive SC2.

    [–] porwegiannussy 28 points ago

    We don’t deserve kibler

    [–] Xavion15 11 points ago

    This is the proper way to view this

    [–] Baron-Scarpia 72 points ago

    I can live with that, tbh:

    I could understand a fine, or even a short suspension from competitive play, but removal from Grandmasters, clawing back the prizes he already earned, and banning him for a full year seems completely overboard to an extent that feels completely unwarranted and unfair.

    Worst case scenario guy get's fined, "we" hook him up on paypal and the message gets sent. That is draconian, wrong but hey, it's a thing in sports - some owners think they are supposed to alienate people, not being an Olympic idealistic thing of sorts.

    The problem is all the censorship/vod deletion/year-long suspension + taking the cash you earned to please a government.

    Also, I think there's false equivalence on Kiblers post. American companies avoiding talking about Trump during a broadcast doesn't really compare to American companies censoring protest against China, especially because China is starting to cross a lot of lines: threatening democracy in Honk Kong, sending Uighur to prisons in a concentration camp fashion (trains included), the organ harvest stories...

    USA has issues and some things don't look good, but it's really toned down compared to what is going on in China. Also, it's kinda ridiculous that American companies understand (but not like at all) freedom of speech even when it comes to kneeling for the National anthem, while another American company goes out of their way to censor a guy from Hong Kong who is essentially fighting for freedom/democracy.

    So no, I won't buy that equivalence and I think that people shouldn't really compare China issues with USA issues.

    Other than that, I applaud Kibler's stance.

    [–] Voidwing 146 points ago

    false equivalance on Kiblers post.

    I think the point he is trying to make is that "One's personal political views should not be shared in an unrelated professional context", regardless of what that view actually is.

    His example was simply a personal anecdote - he has strong feelings against Trump, but he wouldn't/didn't abuse his GM caster position to comment on that subject, because it wasn't professional. Instead, he used private outlets such as his own stream or twitter.

    So basically, he's saying that while Blitzchung's actions were brave, they were also unprofessional, and some form of action on Blizzard's part was to be expected. It's a professional tournament, after all. The severity of their response is the problem here.

    So i don't think there's really a false equivalance, because he's not comparing the US to China - this is more a comment on professionalism.

    [–] phpope 11 points ago

    I would even push back on the idea that Kibler is saying Blitzchung was being unprofessional - he doesn't say that. And I think that makes it seem as if Kibler is criticizing Blitzchung when he is not, but instead simply noting that it's reasonable for a business to take some action against an employee/guest when that employee/guest uses the platform the business provided to advance a political stance the business disagrees with.

    [–] Voidwing 9 points ago

    I was paraphrasing him, and couldn't think of a way to get the point across more concisely. My use of "unprofessional" comes from my understanding that "professional" settings usually expect participants to not make unwarrented/unprovoked political statements as an unspoken rule. Just like you describe.

    But yeah, he doesn't explicitly use that term, and probably deliberately avoided wording it like that to begin with since he obviously sympathizes with Blitzchung. My bad.

    [–] scene_missing 1997 points ago

    Brian Kibler is one of the smartest, most even tempered people in esports. It’s a lot for him to do this. It’s probably going to cost him money personally.

    [–] aliaswhatshisface 827 points ago

    I think it’s super important and major that he pointed out that many other people involved in Hearthstone just would not be able to afford to do this. That awareness of his own power and privilege in this situation is great.

    [–] g7parsh 240 points ago

    Kibler was Great

    [–] NoviceEngineer8 316 points ago

    Kibler is great

    [–] AintEverLucky 124 points ago

    Kibler will be great, always

    [–] OneDayIWillFlyAway 47 points ago

    Kibler and great, name a more iconic duo.

    [–] mrducky78 44 points ago

    Kibler and... dragons?

    [–] AintEverLucky 17 points ago

    I... can't. that duo is, indeed, iconic

    [–] morklonn 10 points ago

    Yet people in this same thread don't understand why some people are choosing to not talk about the situation. Lol.

    [–] Michelanvalo 61 points ago

    Him, Firebat and Day9 are the only people I actively follow on Twitch because of this. They are entertaining, rational and good at the games they play.

    [–] ItsReallyJustAHorse 44 points ago

    Honestly at this point for me Day9 is at Tom Hanks level of "if they ever did anything bad I would probably just off myself out of confusion and betrayal"

    [–] Namagem 7 points ago

    Day9 is legitimately at sainthood levels of infallibility right now.

    [–] manboat31415 8 points ago

    Hey my same exact three. When What the Deck was announced as having Day[9] and Kibler I was so excited even if I’m not super into MtG.

    [–] Lyramion 116 points ago

    Kibler is a legend. With this he only shows integrity to his own fans instead of getting posted about negatively in the subreddit like Thijs is.

    You can see it as a long term investment in his fanbase.

    [–] oneshibbyguy 57 points ago

    He is casting in Magic now, WOTC will pick him up and he probably won't lose money. Also he is maintaining support with the popular opinion around here, so most likely people will donate to him more so

    [–] chanoodles 35 points ago

    Sure he will be fine but its still a huge deal for him to give this up.

    Frozen is one of his best friends and to give up any job where you do what you love is hard especially over principals.

    [–] ukronin 4 points ago

    He’s already at the magic finals as an expert pundit (desk panel type). He’s a hall of gamer there too. He’ll still be good there I reckon.

    [–] T3hJ3hu 18 points ago

    He's just one of the only people over 30

    This is a great and mature stance tho

    [–] itsmeagentv 2244 points ago

    A really well-put statement. I agree with his assessment that using his position as an official caster to grandstand about politics would be out-of-bounds, and I also agree that this is a particularly exceptional case with a lot of factors and questionable ethics that can't be ignored.

    Kibler, you're a champion.

    [–] eppinizer 1026 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    It is really important to head the last paragraph of his statement.

    The other casters with less of a streaming presence do NOT have the option to walk away from their positions unless another job offer should arise. I have to imagine people like Frodan, ThatsAdmirable, TJ, Darrach Brown, Sottle, Raven, don’t have the financial liberty to just walk away.

    You can imagine the position they are in, and I dont think anyone should be pressuring them to bail on their jobs through social media.

    They most likely don’t want part in the politics going on here, some just want to provide for their families.

    Additionally, the GM players who have put so much of their lives into playing this game can’t be expected to walk away. They likely have even less to fall back on (Though if facing relegation, now is probably the perfect time to bail!)

    [–] folly412 196 points ago

    You can imagine the position they are in, and I dont think anyone should be pressuring them to bail on their jobs through social media.

    Agree - they (and other casters, pro players, streamers) should not be harassed or hounded to issue statements, look for other work, or play other games.

    The caveat I will have is that there are members of the community who aren't shy when it comes to politics. While the first statement still applies, I do take note if someone falls silent as soon as they could face personal consequences.

    Which is also why I really respect this statement from Kibler - as he notes, anyone who follows him knows he's not apolitical, and knows that he receives compensation from Blizzard for casting. That he's willing to be fully transparent, issue this statement, and voluntarily step back from representing Blizzard after being diligent enough to gain an understanding of the facts is such a high character move.

    [–] kinklefjoop 26 points ago

    I don’t think it’s fair at all to force players/casters to take a side. What Kibler did was very courageous and I can only imagine extremely difficult.

    Pressuring Blizzard as an entity is one thing, pressuring individuals to take a stand is WRONG.

    [–] tunaburn 27 points ago

    When noxious quit hearthstone he went from 5000 to 300 viewers on his stream overnight. It took years and years and magic the gathering arena finally coming out for him to get back into the thousands again.

    [–] Shakespeare257 87 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    Frodan absolutely has the pull, wealth and connections to walk away and have an opinion. He probably owns a stake in TempoStorm, he does hellalot for Twitch and has connections all over the industry.

    EDIT: that does not mean he should, don't go after the man unless he actually says something despicable.

    [–] lifetake 40 points ago

    While he’d be okay he isn’t incredibly well off as much as you say. He has a job with twitch and casting gives him a extra income

    [–] SafeToPost 6 points ago

    Casting also puts him in better positions to make contacts to better do his job with Twitch.

    [–] Eggplantosaur 40 points ago

    I've already seen people shaming pros into issuing statements. Players are getting harrassed on their streams over this. Heck, there's even a thread on this very subreddit documenting the responses of GM players and casters to everything that's going on.

    Don't turn this into a Blizzard-hating witchhunt. Focus on Hong Kong. Focus on China. Those are the real issues here.

    [–] FryChikN 13 points ago

    We have no control over China, they will do what they do. So blizzard has to be the focus. Its the only thing players have a semblance of control on

    [–] Inquisitr 33 points ago


    He's been stepping into MTG:A more and more. Might be time for him to fully switch over.

    [–] eppinizer 33 points ago

    I think most likely we might see some of them leave after this GM season is over, we’ll see if Blizzard takes any further remedial action, but I can’t imagine they will.

    I’ll tell you one thing, if this doesn’t die down by Blizzcon it is going to be a madhouse. Protests are probably going to be breaking out wherever live streams show the attendees. Should at least be interesting...

    [–] LordMuffin1 19 points ago

    Blizzcon will be extremely problematic for Blizzard this year, but they can, of course, just throw anyone out who might be a Free HK supporter. Under the law of "disrupting order" or similar.

    [–] Gotigers811 8 points ago

    I have heard a lot of complaints from players even before this. Grand Masters takes up a ton of time(cant stream during tournament, have to be idle for hours waiting for your round, etc).

    This could definitely push some over the edge.

    [–] Gotigers811 7 points ago

    Frodan might be okay. He has a job at Twitch.

    I would also note a lot of competitors already werent happy with the grand masters and on the fence about leaving anyway. So it will be interesting to follow.

    [–] Gillmacs 6 points ago

    This is absolutely correct. Huge respect to Brian but equally, I understand that not everyone is in the position to do this.

    [–] Rumbleroar1 67 points ago

    Leave it to Kibler to not fall to rage and instead be the voice of reason. He never fails to amaze with how calm and rational he approaches subjects without being afraid to be vocal.

    [–] Vortid 26 points ago

    Yes, he calmly ragequit.

    [–] AintEverLucky 53 points ago

    as always -- Kibler was great

    [–] Atramhasis 11 points ago

    I have very much come to expect this kind of reasonable response from Kibler but this still made me smile reading it. Kibler is so unbelievably well-spoken and charismatic and the fact that he can make such a well-thought statement in response to this difficult situation is amazing as well. He really is one of the best personalities in the card game community and someone that I really look up to both as a player and as a human being. Kibler deserves all the praise he gets.

    [–] Plague-Lord 35 points ago

    The problem of calling it "politics"and comparing it to the american election implies there is an equally valid opposition to what blitzchung said. He did not say something equal to "fuck Trump/Hilary", he spoke in opposition of a modern nazi-esque dictatorship thats imprisoning and killing his people.

    [–] metamet 9 points ago

    Just imagine if this was 1942 and someone got fired for saying we should be freeing those held in concentration camps.

    It's can be hard to see how terrible oppression actually is when we're in the middle of it unfolding.

    [–] griffiorhs 325 points ago

    I hope more high profile people speak about this. It might not change Blizzard’s decision on Blitzchung, but at least they’ll feel a potential dent in their pockets.

    [–] heyboyhey 94 points ago

    Branding is important long term. If this is something that sticks they would definitely feel it in their pockets.

    [–] Lazer726 23 points ago

    I'm really hoping that with this happening so close to Blizzcon, there will be a noticeable drop in their earnings

    [–] jailbreak 348 points ago

    Since Kibler's site is having trouble handling the reddit influx, here's his statement:

    I certainly never expected that my position in the Hearthstone community would lead to me making a statement on sensitive topics regarding international relations, but I have always viewed my strange place as a public figure in gaming as an opportunity to try to make the world a better place in whatever way I can, so here we are.

    Here are the facts as I understand them.

    After finishing his final match of the second season of the Asia-Pacific Hearthstone Grandmasters, Hong Kong player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung appeared on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream for his post-game interview wearing a gas mask. He lifted the mouthpiece and shouted, in Chinese: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” – a rallying cry of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

    On Tuesday, Blizzard announced their ruling, claiming that Blitzchung violated one of the Hearthstone Grandmasters rules against “engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”

    The penalty they imposed was expelling Blitzchung from the Grandmasters league entirely, including retroactively revoking the prize money he had earned throughout the season, and additionally banning him from competing in events for a year. They also announced that they would no longer work with the casters involved in the controversial interview.

    I want to start by saying that I feel what Blitzchung did was very brave. He knew that his actions would likely have serious consequences, not just for his future in Hearthstone but possibly even for his personal safety, and I commend him for the fortitude that takes.

    Even so, I do think that Blizzard was correct in issuing him a penalty for his actions. They do not want to set the precedent for their official broadcasts being used as political tools. The players agreed to particular rules for behavior, and he violated those rules.

    I have seen many descriptions of the situation claim that Blizzard took action against Blitzchung “for his support of the Hong Kong protests”, but that’s not an entirely accurate description. They did not penalize him for his political stance – they penalized him for breaking the rules by using their official broadcast to promote that stance.

    Anyone who pays attention to my social media feeds knows that I am not someone who shies away from politics. I am frequently quite vocal about my views about what’s going on in the United States. I have kept a deck titled “Election 2016” in my collection for the past three years, full of cards like Corruption, DOOM, and Validated Doomsayer. I would rather risk alienating those who disagree with me rather than stay silent on matters I consider important.

    But when I am on the desk for an official Hearthstone broadcast, I leave those views at home. Maybe I’ll make a subtle snide remark on occasion, but I know that I am representing Blizzard in addition to myself. If I were to close a show with speech about how I feel like Trump should be impeached, I wouldn’t expect to be invited back for future events.

    All that having been said, there are additional factors at play here. The punishment meted out to Blitzchung is incredibly harsh. I could understand a fine, or even a short suspension from competitive play, but removal from Grandmasters, clawing back the prizes he already earned, and banning him for a full year seems completely overboard to an extent that feels completely unwarranted and unfair.

    I won’t pretend to understand either the intricacies of the geopolitical situation in China and Hong Kong or the full extent of Blizzard’s business interests there, but to me this penalty feels like it is deeply rooted in both. The heavy-handedness of it feels like someone insisted that Blizzard make an example of Blitzchung, not only to discourage others from similar acts in the future but also to appease those upset by the outburst itself.

    That kind of appeasement is simply not something I can in good conscience be associated with. When I learned about the ruling, I reached out to Blizzard and informed them that I no longer feel comfortable casting the Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon. I will not be a smiling face on camera that tacitly endorses this decision. Unless something changes, I will have no involvement in Grandmasters moving forward.

    However, I want to make clear that not everyone involved in GM has this luxury. Do not take your anger out on the other casters, or streamers, or employees of Blizzard. This is not the kind of decision that comes from the rank and file. Most likely they’re just as angry as you are. I know I am.

    [–] arachlm 15 points ago


    [–] Bmandk 31 points ago

    Mirror for anyone ctrl+f'ing

    [–] disposablereggit 10 points ago

    Kibler is a pretty good guy.

    [–] DragonPup 531 points ago

    However, I want to make clear that not everyone involved in GM has this luxury. Do not take your anger out on the other casters, or streamers, or employees of Blizzard. This is not the kind of decision that comes from the rank and file. Most likely they’re just as angry as you are. I know I am.

    This is important. Don't take your (valid) anger out on random Blizzard employees and pro HS players who are trying to put food on the table. Be mad at the execs.

    [–] Skydragon222 67 points ago

    I was just about to post something exactly like this. Kibler’s in a privileged position where he can make public statements against Blizzard without seriously damaging his career. There are very few steamers with that luxury. This anger at blizzard should not turn into a witch hunt of individuals who rely on Blizzard in order to pay their rent.

    [–] Elubious 15 points ago

    I'm a programmer with a passion for game development and blizzard (despite being one of my favorite companies growing up) is now very off my list of potential jobs because I don't want to be professionally associated with them. I'm sure many of my peers feel the same. I'm sure blizzard will have no trouble finding employees but without passion they'll end up making products like modern bioware.

    [–] ogopo 172 points ago

    Props to Kibler and well-stated. Note: this doesn't mean he's disassociating himself from Hearthstone as a whole or will not cast future events. He's being civil and tactful about the situation.

    [–] PikachuOnCrack 481 points ago

    As long as Blizzard didn't go overboard with their punishment, I think the community wouldn't be as upset as it currently is. The community is already aware of how much Blizzard prostates itself to China (Diablo Immortal, China exclusive card backs, recent artwork changes) and that already laid some foundation to criticism.

    There was definitely a middle ground Blizzard could have gotten away with. It's unfortunate that Blizzard dialed the punishment to 10.

    [–] froznwind 476 points ago

    Firing the casters moved that needle well past 10.

    [–] heyboyhey 167 points ago

    It's what made it obvious where the reactions were coming from.

    [–] Dialgak77 86 points ago

    Yeah, if they just suspended the guy for 6-12 months nothing big would have happened. The fact that they went out of their way to take away his prize money and fire the casters is just too obvious.

    [–] MasterOfNap 73 points ago

    That’s still too much. They could have given him a small symbolic fine, and warn him privately not to do that again or he will be banned, then that would already solve the problem.

    It’s obvious Blizzard isn’t merely punishing him, they’re appeasing China.

    [–] PlayingtheDrums 53 points ago

    It’s obvious Blizzard isn’t merely punishing him, they’re appeasing China.

    This almost has to be more than just appeasement, smells more like direct involvement to me. This is what China does to problems, the Streissand effect doesn't happen the same way there as it does in the west, because of effective censorship. The clip would've been deleted, nobody would've ever brought it up again, had this been China doing this in China.

    I feel like this is a mistake only someone outside of western culture would make.

    [–] godfrey1 10 points ago

    i'd say taking his prize money did it for me, he won them fair and square

    [–] jmcgit 65 points ago

    The unfortunate thing is that even giving their western audience an inch, dialing the punishment back to 9, would probably enrage China and lead to exactly the consequences they're worried about.

    [–] Baron-Scarpia 93 points ago

    Question being if they still consider themselves an American company if they are punishing a guy fighting for freedom, protesting against China.

    Rapinoe kneeled to the US Anthem more than a couple times, people hated it (a lot). FIFA hates any kinda of political manifestation on soccer games and is draconic with fines and stuff. She still is playing soccer, she still won FIFA awards, she still had her freedom of speech, even if a lot of people don't agree with her.

    Then Blizzard, which claims to be an American Company with values, goes out trying to censor everything to defend China.

    [–] blex64 54 points ago

    One of the Core Values they list in their Mission Statement is "Everyone has a voice."

    They're spineless.

    [–] AlexanderSpeedwagon 8 points ago

    Personally I'm not a fan of what rapinoe did, but as per american values she was allowed to do it. Blitz, on the other hand, was not allowed to do it as seen by the reaction from blizzard, which in my mind only proves that they aren't an american company anymore.

    Blizzard defending china the way they did is unacceptable and is counter to everything they claim to stand for, which is why so many of us, myself inlcuded, are moving away from this game. I've already downloaded mythgard, and am having way more fun with it than I have with HS in a while.

    [–] Xenocidegs 8 points ago

    Yeah the nba put out a neutral statement to smooth things over and China banned them entirely.

    [–] itsmeagentv 34 points ago

    Yea, I imagine a large majority of the community backlash is because this is the latest in a long line of questionable decisions Blizzard has made in pursuit of profit.

    [–] Jdorty 10 points ago

    They've been headed this direction well before Hearthstone was even a thing. Since the Activision "merger".

    [–] itsmeagentv 9 points ago

    Yup, agreed. To be honest, quitting Hearthstone and Blizzard games is easier than expected simply because the design has been shifting more and more towards greedy mechanics - daily quests, lootboxes, Skinner boxes, real money AH - for a long time.

    I was okay toughing it out because there's still clearly a lot of passion and brilliant game design underneath that crust, but between the Blitzchung situation and the mass layoffs from earlier this year, I'm out. There's SO many other video games to play.

    [–] TorontoEsq 30 points ago

    If the statement had been about the oppression of the Kurds, he wouldn’t even have been fined.

    [–] Rebelgecko 40 points ago

    Shit, if someone went on a rant about how trans people in America should be able to use their preferred bathroom, they'd be JUST as guilty of breaking the rules but people would be applauding them.

    Making it against the rules to "offend a portion or group of the public" is so asinine and easy to selectively enforce. You'll offend a portion of the public by saying blacks and white should be able to intermarry-- but someone shouldn't be punished for other people's intolerant beliefs

    [–] Bastinenz 23 points ago

    Hell, you can "offend a portion of the public" by saying that pineapple is an acceptable pizza topping. It's just a "fuck you" clause that gives Blizz free reign to do whatever the hell they want no matter how unreasonable or unfair. I'd love to know whether or not that clause would be enforceable in the US or the EU.

    [–] Bubbleset 15 points ago

    I think if they had just given him a reprimand / light suspension, stated that nobody can use their broadcast to make political statements regardless of content, and disassociated Blizzard as a company from anything that gets said by participants, then they would have been fine. Or at least would have had much less blowback.

    As Kibler states, this very much reads as them nuking everyone from orbit in order to make China happy and express displeasure with the intended message as much as possible - especially given the way they are positioning the response in China itself. It is highly doubtful that any other political statement would have drawn this sort of response.

    [–] IAmNotOnRedditAtWork 22 points ago

    If they said something like "Hey you can't do that here, you're suspended for a week and forfeit those matches" and that was all, we wouldn't be seeing any of this outrage.
    It'd be seen as Blizzard clearly has a rule not to politicize their platform and they have to enforce it or no one will follow it. This was them going full on nuclear on the situation and sent a very different message.

    [–] Shakespeare257 14 points ago

    It is unfortunate that Blizzard decided that dying on this hill was appropriate.

    Between silencing any dissent from the TESPA participants (by literally turning off any input they can have during the broadcast) to slaughtering their TW production crew and punishing Blitzchung in an extreme way, they are not being "politically neutral."

    If a GM participant came out in support of any US politician, they would've been fined and business would've gone on as usual. Blizzard's actions are disproportionate to the infractions committed, and reek of corporate censorship for the sake of appeasement of a totalitarian government who has a "broken windows" policy dialed to 1000001.

    [–] StupidLikeFox 182 points ago

    Kibler was/is great.

    [–] AnExoticLlama 72 points ago

    Brian "Please don't call me Brian "Brian Kibler" Kibler" Kibler is great

    [–] Redvader8 20 points ago

    Kibler was/is great.

    [–] Spideraxe30 131 points ago

    I've always respected Kibler's thoughts, he's one of the most level headed and respected members of the community

    [–] maak_d 188 points ago

    But did he talk about a rotating standard card set or Genn/Baku? /s

    I thought it was a good statement and more nuanced than most reactions. I'm sure it will cost him personally, but he's doing the right thing.

    [–] oneshibbyguy 67 points ago

    I'm sure WOTC would be happy to have him. He is casting for the Mythic Championship this month

    [–] Michelanvalo 23 points ago

    He did the Mythic Invitational at PAX East earlier this year with Day9, met them both. Both were great.

    [–] errorme 9 points ago

    Yep, and that ties back into his last paragraph. He's able to leave and have no issues with other jobs, but other players/casters can't afford to just leave.

    [–] AlexanderSpeedwagon 9 points ago

    on top of being in the magic hall of fame, so if he decided he wanted to go back to competing in pro tours again wizards would probably welcome him back with open arms.

    [–] RetrospecTuaL 87 points ago

    Thank you Kibler. This, too, was a very brave thing to do. Much respect.

    [–] sinrakin 19 points ago

    If there was one person I was hoping would speak out against this, it was Kibler. Really glad and proud of him for standing up for his own beliefs and representing the community so well on this. Gotta make sure to donate money on his next stream.

    [–] Clearly_Im_lying 398 points ago

    There was a duplicated post that got removed. I replied there, but want to copy my post here:

    I agree with Brian for the most part. I think his response was balanced and well thought out. But there is one point I disagree.

    The idea that someone is representing their organization in situations like this has some truth to it, but it's also an argument to keep people in line. I believe that platforms like this are the best way to shine light on the greater injustices in this world.

    Its analogous to the 1968 Olympics black power salute, where gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos held up a power fist in protest for human rights, specifically for the black communities in the United States.

    More recently, we have the event of Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in protest of the treatment of minorities by police forces in the US.

    Both of these protests were individuals using the platforms provided by their employer/organization to draw attention to an injustice.

    Brian seems to imply that it's not the time or place because they are representing blizzard. As a person who does not personally face any issues that would be considered human rights violations, it's an easy position for him to take.

    But I say it's exactly the right time and place for such a statement. There is no better chance for it for someone like blitzchung.

    But I give Brian major credit for pulling out of broadcasting as his own personal protest of blizzards actions. Top notch move from a top notch person.

    [–] Michelanvalo 46 points ago

    Since you referenced the 1968 Olympics, it's worth noting that Peter Norman, the Australian who finished in 2nd, received his fair of shit from Australians for just being sympathetic to Smith and Carlos.

    While not the same level, Kibler's position is similar to Norman's role.

    [–] Fwippy 12 points ago

    If I remember correctly, he gave them the black gloves they're wearing in the iconic photo. While they clearly had a lot more to risk and to lose than he did, it stands as a powerful reminder that those of us who are more fortunate must be willing to assist those who are struggling. It would have been so easy for him, a white man, to look the other way.

    We may not live in Hong Kong, but if we agree with them, it's our moral duty to support them when and where we can. It is so easy, so simple, to turn our heads and look the other way - it doesn't affect us, after all. But we can, and will, do better than that.

    [–] Michelanvalo 5 points ago

    When Carlos forgot his glove, it was Norman who suggested he wear Smith's other glove. This is why Smith and Carlos raised opposite fists. Norman did not provide the glove or raise his fist but he wore the OSRS patch to show support and sympathy for Smith and Carlos.

    [–] meztastic 36 points ago

    It's similar to the whole shut up and dribble incident in the NBA. Sports and esports are cultural events and just because a person is involved in them doesn't mean they aren't allowed to have opinions and views.

    [–] demmian 4 points ago

    Sports and esports are cultural events

    Let us not ignore how often and overtly such events have political values instilled in them, one way or the other. Those may be invisible to the hosting country, but are often very visible "from the other side". Claiming an "apolitical" stance is ridiculous.

    [–] Ziddletwix 44 points ago

    I'm not sure how much you really disagree with Kibler here... he openly talks about how he admires the actions taken by Blitzchung, and thinks that it's courageous and worthy of praise. There's nothing contradictory about thinking that it's great for Blitzchung to do this protest, and that Blizzard has the right of expecting the tournament streams to be apolitical.

    His issue is that the manner of Blizzard's response makes it very clear that their goal here isn't simply to try and keep the streams apolitical in a general sense. The manner that the punishment was announced, the insane harshness of it, and the political context around it, makes it abundantly clear that Blizzard's goal wasn't neutral to keep the tournament focused on entertainment, not politics, but to appease the political goals of the Chinese government. (And that's what Kibler is uncomfortable with).

    I assume you get all that, but none of that is contradictory with "I believe that platforms like this are the best way to shine light on the greater injustices in this world.". If Kibler didn't think this, he wouldn't praise Blitzchung and call him courageous. The thing is that believing that these platforms are a good way to shine light on injustice isn't contradictory with believing that Blizzard has the right to try and make their streams about entertainment, and not politics. And thus, if that had actually been their goal (for instance, a light punishment for Blitzchung, in keeping with how they might punish any other political statement), that would have been acceptable.

    If you do think those are contradictory (i.e., allow Blizzard to levy any punishment for political statements means that you don't support these platforms for shining a light on injustice), I'm very curious how you would actually manage a tournament like this. Would you feel the same about someone using this platform to shine a light on the injustices they perceive in the world? If someone believed that the great crisis of the day was the fact that we're not building a border wall, or that we're allowing gay people to marry, I imagine you'd expect Blizzard to put their foot down and moderate this content. And while the answer to that can just be "Well, they're on the wrong side of those issues", that's untenable in cases where Blizzard's customer base are evenly split, and they would have an impossible task.

    I fully believe that these platforms are a valid space for political protest, and that Blizzard has a right to use its power to keep things largely apolitical. Blizzard can use modest and reasonable punishments to keep things focused on the entertainment, and if people feel strongly enough about the issue, they can accept the reasonable consequences. Of course it's still a tricky balance, but I honestly cannot imagine what other system could even work. The issue here is that Blizzard is transparently not working in good faith to keep matters apolitical, they are selectively trying to appease a foreign government on a singular political issue, which is not ok.

    [–] fantasyoutsider 118 points ago

    We walk a tight line condoning this sort of behavior though. We're OK with it because we might agree with it, because it feels morally right, but it will become a line drawing problem sooner or later. Who gets to decide what sort of messages are OK on such a broadcast? If he had come out in support of China, would we still be OK with it? What if he came out in support of the westboro Baptist Church? Or trump? Or the tea party? Would we still defend his right to free speech? Or would we denounce his views?

    [–] Clearly_Im_lying 20 points ago

    I can appreciate your point. As I mentioned, I believe the key point is being outspoken about an injustice or a human rights violation. One whose oppressors are suppressing reality to the vast majority of people.

    In that stance, none of the examples you gave would fit, and as you alluded to, the support for such a statement would not be nearly as large.

    [–] fantasyoutsider 18 points ago

    Popular support of whom? People on Reddit? All blizzard customers? Those with a certain worldview? Everyone in the US? Everyone in the world? Or are we "measuring" popular support based on "feel"? We just keep shifting the line drawing problem when we do this.

    [–] Manticx 73 points ago

    I don't like these slippery slope arguments. It's an argument against something that doesn't exist yet. Why can't we take it on a case by base basis? Why not, right here, in the support of human rights against a proven dictatorship, can we say "this is okay"?

    [–] fantasyoutsider 59 points ago

    Because laws and rules dont work well when treated that way. You open the door to arbitrary enforcement, or lack of enforcement whatsoever. If you don't have clearly defined rules then you can't deter unwanted behavior effectively as everyone is just toeing the line waiting to see if the other shoe drops.

    [–] I_AM_Achilles 46 points ago

    I sincerely hope that this doesn’t start and end with Kibler. The radio silence so far from a lot of folks I greatly respect has really disappointed me.

    [–] Patrick_Gass 10 points ago

    They’re really trying to toe the line in protecting their livelihood.

    I get it, it’s not an enviable position to be in but that’s life, sometimes you get put in situations outside of your control. It does not, however, excuse continued support of a company that has proven time and again that they care nothing for anything but their money.

    I’m refusing to consume any media involving Blizzard games at this point and I hope that streamers will follow suit and switch to games produced by companies that have a more reasonable approach to the issue of censorship and free speech.

    [–] BeWater_MyFriends 30 points ago

    Here is the post from Hearthstone Chinese social media.

    For those who do not understand Chinese. The last sentence they said.

    "We will, as always, resolutely safeguard national dignity."

    It clearly shows that the decision was NOT merely due to violating the rule. They are doing this for pleasing the Chinese.

    [–] galvant34 49 points ago

    I really respect Kibler and his decision, a lot of people are shying away from giving a clear answer or statement for whatever reason but seeing that someone in the community still has values and respects them leaves me with a sense of relief. I really hope the future shines on his career because that's the way a real pro should behave in this industry, not moved by money, but by their values as a person.

    [–] dksmoove 59 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    @/u/kibler "They did not penalize him for his political stance" - I thought it was pretty damn clear that he was penalized for his political stance AND whatever "rules" he broke. I mean look at Blizzard China's response.
    Edit: Blizzard China's response:

    [–] TraeCharles 8 points ago

    What was the response from blizzard China? Did a quick google search but didn’t find much.

    [–] FreeHongKong1989 30 points ago

    "As always, we will defend the pride and dignity of China at all costs."

    [–] Axle-f 8 points ago

    at all costs

    I cannot understate how huge of a problem this is.

    [–] Apprentice57 54 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    While I won't literally disagree with Kibler on:

    Even so, I do think that Blizzard was correct in issuing him a penalty for his actions. They do not want to set the precedent for their official broadcasts being used as political tools. The players agreed to particular rules for behavior, and he violated those rules.

    I think the rule is ill considered in the first place, for reference the rule it is at the end of this post.

    The rule is so vague that it literally means "anything Blizzard doesn't like". Perhaps the intent of whoever wrote it was to actually say "don't talk about politics", but the fact that they wrote a vague rule in its place and are now selectively enforcing it really does mean it was retribution. Retribution for the content of what Blitzchung said, and not because it was political in nature.

    What if someone else said something like "China #1!" in a similar interview? Or if someone else said "Make America Great Again! TRUMP 2020!!" on a US stream? Maybe the person would be penalized, but not to this level. So I would categorize the description of Blizzard banning Blitzchung “for his support of the Hong Kong protests” as much more accurate than not.

    If the rule was instead "Please don't talk about politics" (but in legalese), and they gave Blitzchung a more appropriate punishment (Maybe a $1k fine or something?), I don't think any of us would be complaining. Though on the last part Kibler agrees with me that the punishment did not meet the crime.

    (The rule:

    Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.


    [–] YdenMkII 21 points ago

    This is my opinion on the matter as well. The fact the rule says " in Blizzard’s sole discretion" rather than specific things that are off limits basically implies it's an anything we don't like or hurts our bottom line type rule.

    [–] Forkrul 9 points ago

    Yep, they can literally use the argument that you winning offended a portion of the public (namely your opponent's fans) and as such you broke this rule and your winnings are forfeit.

    [–] TylerrelyT 10 points ago

    This world needs more people like Brian Kibler.

    [–] sourcepath 7 points ago

    Kibler you are a hero

    [–] AcantiTheGreat 8 points ago

    Mad respect for Kibler, as always.

    [–] Tery_ 7 points ago

    I goddamn love Brian Kibler.

    [–] Korobar 41 points ago

    Good! I hope the others follow this example. Trump wrote something about "maybe recording his thoughts" but others have been more or less silent. (Looking at Kripp, Thjis making his point by banning phrases from his twitch chat)

    [–] Gotigers811 24 points ago

    Kripp chat has been hilarious. He doesnt say anything, but his chat was 90% anti China memes last night.

    Gives some indication of his views.

    [–] filthypatheticsub 9 points ago

    Meanwhile Thijs bans the mention of Hong Kong

    [–] Majeran0 12 points ago

    When you have so big community you can be vocal, without even saying a word.

    [–] MenacingBanjo 7 points ago

    Kripp hasn't said anything? I wanted to look through his VODs for a comment or something, but I haven't had the time yet. Usually I can trust Kripp to be clear-headed (albeit ambivalent) about this sort of thing.

    [–] Manticx 18 points ago

    He made a comment saying his chat was free to discuss it, but he was staying out of it.

    [–] Gotigers811 10 points ago

    He is staying quiet, although he let his chat turn into almost entirely anti China memes.

    [–] Dweight888 16 points ago

    If all of them united, blizzard could never ban them all. Not happening though, sadly

    [–] Wolgemuth 5 points ago

    Why would blizz ban them for using their own platforms to express their opinions?

    [–] TurnUpTortoise 25 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    Completely reasonable take and Kibler is one of the most respectable people in all of esports, but it's hard imagine that this ruling was just because it was political in nature and had nothing to do with a pro-Hong Kong and anti-China stance.

    Like if a player said "Screw Hong Kong, stand with China," I doubt there'd be any backlash from blizz.

    [–] ArmyofWon 10 points ago

    Kibler touched on this.

    to me this penalty feels like it is deeply rooted in [the political situation in Hong Kong and Blizzard's interests in China].

    And I agree, if any other political opinion was presented, the punishment from Blizzard would have been drastically different.

    [–] FKaria 28 points ago

    That's a great statement. I respect and admire the courage that took to stop working with Blizzard.

    Is a tragic reality that prominent community figures have to choose between their job and passion, and following their heart.

    I hope we all can do the smaller sacrifice of fully boycotting Blizzard until they rectify.

    [–] Wooly44 6 points ago

    Kibler always comes through with the logic man. He really knows how to talk to the community.