United States politicians have gotten involved more with the debacle surrounding Hearthstone player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung's ban. After senators Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio commented on the situation earlier, they now have sent a letter to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. The letter has also been signed by three Members of Congress: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski. Though the letter still mentions the original punishment Blizzard gave Blitzchung, instead of the reduced one Blizzard issued after facing massive backlash, the tone is still very critical.
The lawmakers open by saying they express "deep concern" about making Blitzchung forfeit his prize money for what he did, continuing: "This decision is particularly concerning in light of the Chinese government's growing appetite for pressuring American business to help stifle free speech." Later on, the letter reads: "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."
The letter closes with a strong call for Bobby Kotick to reconsider his, and Blizzard's, position: "(...) you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or give in to Beijing's demands in order to preserve market access."
As mentioned earlier though, Blizzard has reduced the punishment given to Blitzchung already. It seems like the letter was either drafted earlier and sent only now, or that the Senators and Members of Congress didn't receive the update.
Inven Global has reached out to Blizzard for comments.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.