A letter from The Congress of The United States has been sent directly to Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard. This letter was signed by senators Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio and members of congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Malinowski. In it, the signers express concern over the recent events surrounding Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung.
Chung had expressed solidarity with pro-freedom Hong Kong protesters during a post-match Hearthstone livestream. Blizzard responded to Chung’s comments by stripping him of his prize money and banning him from events for one year. The two hosts for the interview were also promptly fired, despite them saying nothing in support and even hiding behind their desks to avoid being associated with Chung’s message.
What followed was a wave of anti-Activision Blizzard protests. Chung’s prize money has since been returned and his ban changed to six months. The casters’ fates have also been changed to a six-month suspension. The letter from Congress makes no concession for the revised penalties – instead, it focuses on the initial offense.
The message is clear. Blizzard must choose between either “the bottom line” or their desire to “promote American values”. The representatives state concern over China’s ability to force US-based companies to suppress dissenting opinions, and they call Blizzard’s decision “disappointing”. While they don’t offer any consequences for Blizzard, the final words do carry weight.
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.