The president of Blizzard Entertainment J. Allen Brack has responded to the situation that escalated from the company's decision to ban Hearthstone player Blitzchung from esports tournaments following his decision to make a pro-Hong Kong statement during a post-game interview.
Speaking to IGN, the Blizzard boss insisted that the company values freedom of expression and that the incident had been "humbling" for the games firm.
“We’re big believers in free expression. I’m personally a big believer in free expression,” he said.
“So, it’s a little interesting for me personally to be a person who's involved in not being a supporter. The supporters there are welcome. Protest is part of what it is to be in our culture.”
He continued: “I think this has been a humbling incident for Blizzard, really across the board, if you think about how this has really, kind of, taken over and kind of taken on a life of its own. I think there’s a lot of work that we want to kind of continue to do, to think about how to prevent something like this from ever happening again. It’s been a – I think – a nightmare for all involved.”
The exec also clarified some confusion owing to differences between the statement he made on the matter and the comment put out by the Hearthstone account on Chinese social media platform Weibo, which said Blizchung's punishment was about protecting “national dignity.”
“I think there is a lot of confusion around how publishing games work in China,” Brack said.
“We are not legally allowed to [publish our games in China].” We must have a partner… in this case, NetEase.
“It is their quote. It is their employees that made that quote. It is not something that we approved. It is not something that we would have approved. It is not something that we feel like is representative [of Blizzard].”