Nathan ‘Admirable’ Zamora and Brian Kibler have quit the Hearthstone Grandmaster team, as Riot Games denies they’ve banned the word ‘Hong Kong’.
One of the biggest names in the American Hearthstone community has said he will not take part in any more events this season, following Blizzard’s decision to ban player Blitzchung for making a statement in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Zamora is a key member of the Hearthstone Grandmaster casting team and will not now attend Blizzcon or the Hearthstone Masters Tour. His exit follows that of fellow caster, and former pro-player Brian Kibler, who has also withdrawn from the finals and all current Grandmaster events.
‘Blitzchung’s actions to support Hong Kong speak to me far more than I could have imagined. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, and to make sacrifices in the process. His actions are inspiring to me, and I support him wholeheartedly,’ wrote Zamora on Twitter.
‘For me, this is a large part of my livelihood. This is my passion. This pursuit has been my life, and I’m lucky that I’ve been able to make it a career. But I cannot compromise my conviction. Without change that would convince me that Blizzard will uphold their core value “Every Voice Matters”, I cannot continue casting the game.’
The ‘Every Voice Matters’ quote is one of the slogans, along with ‘Think Globally’ which is etched into the statute at Blizzard’s Californian campus and which was covered up by disgruntled employees.
Zamora and Kibler have indicated they would return to the scene if Blizzard reversed its decision but so far there’s been no indication of that happening.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the incident has caused other companies to state their positions, with Fortnite makers Epic Games insisting they will not ban any players if they make similar protests, despite being part owned by Chinese company Tencent.
At the same time, League Of Legends owners Riot Games have denied they forced team Hong Kong Attitude to change their name to HKA.
Riot Games was acquired by Tencent in 2011, while the Chinese technology giant also has a minority stake in Activision Blizzard.
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