Riot wants League of Legends pro players to stay away from political topics

Riot wants League of Legends pro players to stay away from political topics

League of Legends maker Riot Games has said that it would rather its pro players stayed away from political topics.

That's according to a statement from the company's global head of League of Legends esports John Needham tweeted ahead of last weekend's World Championship Group stage, in which the pro-games boss said that Riot wants to keep these events about the game.

This echoes part of Blizzard's statement in the wake of the backlash against Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai being banned from taking part in tournaments after calling for Hong Kong's liberation from China.

“As a general rule, we want to keep our broadcasts focused on the game, the sport, and the players," Needham wrote.

"We serve fans from many different countries and cultures, and we believe this opportunity comes with a responsibility to keep personal views on sensitive issues (political, religious, or otherwise) separate. These topics are often incredibly nuanced, require deep understanding and a willingness to listen, and cannot be fairly represented in the forum our broadcast provides. Therefore, we have reminded our casters and pro players from discussing any of these topics on air.

“Our decision also reflects that we have Riot employees and fans in regions where there has been (or there is risk of) political and/or social unrest, including places like Hong Kong. We believe we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure that statements or actions on our official platforms (intended or not) do not escalate potentially sensitive situations.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.