Following ongoing backlash over their handling of pro Hearthstone player Blitzchung, Blizzard has lightened his punishment. Earlier this week, Blitzchung made comments in support of Hong Kong protesters, and Blizzard handled it harshly. They removed him from Hearthstone Grandmasters, banned him from competing for a year, and reduced his prize money to $0 USD. The move set off a firestorm of controversy from gamers and main-stream media alike.

Blizzard has now reversed course, saying they reacted too quickly to the situation and that the punishment was too harsh. They’ve reduced his ban to 6 months and restored his prize money. The casters involved in the moment, who had also been banned, have had their punishment reduced to six months as well.

Blizzard Entertainment on Twitter

Regarding Last Weekend’s Hearthstone Grandmasters Tournament https://t.co/4KAsV9HqP8

One thing that people are still skeptical of is that Blizzard claims the move is not related to China or their views on Hong Kong. They claim the infraction has to do with Blitzchung shifting the focus of the event away from Hearthstone and towards a politically motivated topic. The president of the company, J. Allen Brack, was quoted as saying: “We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took. If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same.”

What do you think? Is the punishment more in line with the crime? Should there even be a punishment for this? Do you believe Blizzard would have enacted the same punishment had Blitzchung taken the opposite viewpoint? Let us know on Twitter, that’s @CheckpointXP.

Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

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