Following Blizzard, Riot Games forbids professional League of Legends players and commentators from discussing politics
The situation keeps getting worse and worse with Riot following Blizzard's cowardly example.
What you need to know
- Hong Kong is in the midst of protests as citizens fight to stay independent from China's communist government.
- Earlier in the week, Blizzard banned a pro Hearthstone player for voicing support of Hong Kong.
- Riot Games has followed suit and now forbids League of Legends player and commentators from discussing politics on air.
Blizzard found itself in hot water this week after banning pro Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai from competition for a year and stripping him of his earnings after he voiced support for Hong Kong during a recent esports tournament. This was met by backlash from both outside and within the company for appeasing the Chinese government, but was largely met with silence from other companies. Riot Games has now spoken out, and it looks to make the situation even worse as the studio has forbid professional League of Legends Players and commentators from discussing politics on air.
Related: After thousands of hours in World of Warcraft, Jez is boycotting Blizzard
John Needham, Global Head of League of Legends esports, put forth a statement on Twitter that summed up the company's policy on talking about "sensitive issues."
A message from John Needham, Global Head of League of Legends Esports pic.twitter.com/5Au9rE7T86A message from John Needham, Global Head of League of Legends Esports pic.twitter.com/5Au9rE7T86— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 11, 2019October 11, 2019
Riot Games is owned by Tencent, one of the world's largest and most lucrative gaming companies based in China. Though Riot insists on not picking sides and remaining neutral, it's clear where this statement is truly coming from and who it is in support of.
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.