American University gets 6-month ban from collegiate Hearthstone

American University has gotten its wish and is getting a six-month Hearthstone ban for calling for the liberation of Hong Kong. In gaming circles, that's call the full blitzchung!


It's starting to reach a point where employees of Blizzard Entertainment probably don't want to hear the words "Hong Kong" anymore, but the company's higher-ups continue to mire themselves in controversy. In the wake of the ongoing blitzchung controversy, Blizzard has granted a collegiate Hearthstone team its wish and issued a six-month ban for speaking out in support of the people of Hong Kong.

The blitzchung controversy continues to haunt Blizzard

Let's recap the controversy from the beginning. Pro Hearthstone player Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai was suspended and had his prize money revoked for calling for the liberation of Hong Kong. There was immediate outcry over Blizzard putting the interests of China's government over principles of free speech. Many stood with blitzchung, from some of Blizzard's own employees over in the Irvine, CA campus, to pro Hearthstone players and commentators, to a collegiate Hearthstone team that used its interview time to also call for Hong Kong's freedom, as well as a Blizzard boycott. Blizzard had hoped not to step in it a second time and let American University's comments slide, but the university's players weren't letting them get off that easy. The university demanded a punishment equal to blitzchung's. After trying (and failing) to put out the other fires related to this controversy, Blizzard has responded and issued American University the ban it asked for.

Team member Casey Chambers confirmed on Twitter (via Kotaku) that American University has received a six-month ban from competitive collegiate Hearthstone. The punishment matches the reduced punishment that Blizzard handed out late Friday evening. This particular situation was a no-win situation for Blizzard. If it continued to let the American University actions slide, it would set a double standard. But now, they're once again in a position where they've essentially issued a ban over free speech.

No word on what American University's suspension means for the collegiate Hearthstone circuit going forward, but the blitzchung controversy is one that continues to haunt Blizzard and is not one that's going to die anytime soon. If anything, it's an issue that only stands to get more attention at BlizzCon in just a few weeks.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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