A bipartisan Congressional group is asking Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to reverse course and lift all punishments against Hearthstone player Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai, levied after the Hong Kong pro expressed support for protests in Hong Kong in a postmatch interview.
Blizzard initially banned blitzchung from its esports competitions for one year and stripped him of his winnings. Later, it reduced the suspension to six months and awarded him $10,000 in prize money for winning a Grandmasters match.
The congressional delegation's letter, dated Friday, cites the original punishment.
"As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values -- like freedom of speech and thought -- or to give in to Beijing's demands in order to preserve market access," the letter states. "We urge you in the strongest terms to reconsider your decision with respect to Mr. Chung. You have the opportunity to reverse course. We urge you to take it."
The letter is signed by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida), as well as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Tom Malinowski (D-New Jersey).
The letter also urged Blizzard not to muzzle the right to free speech:
"Your company claims to stand by 'one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions,' yet many of your own employees believe that Activision Blizzard's decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values. Because your company is such a pillar of the gaming industry, your disappointing decision could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedoms. Indeed, many gamers around the world have taken notice of your company's actions, understandably calling for boycotts of Activision Blizzard gaming sites."
-- Field Level Media