Activision Blizzard Pays Lip Service to Black Lives Matter Months After Snub of Hong Kong Protesters

cosplayers from Blizzard's World of Warcraft
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Activision Blizzard is feeling the heat of backlash for promoting Black Lives Matter after banning an e-sports champion for making comments in favor of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The gaming giant tweeted its support for Black Lives Matter on Sunday, saying that “we support all those who stand against racism and inequality. There is no place for it in our society — or any society. Black lives matter.”

But that tweet has received a flood of negative comments, many of which pointed to the company’s decision to ban Hearthstone eSports champion Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung, who is a native of Hong Kong. Ng got in trouble with Blizzard late last year when he proclaimed during an interview: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”

His comment resulted in a ban from Blizzard, which is partly owned by the Chinese multinational  Tencent Holdings Limited.

Commenters also noted that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said last year that the company’s gaming platform isn’t the place for “political views.”

“We’re the operator of the communities that allow you to have fun through the lens of a video game,” Kotick said in response to a question about Hong Kong during a CNBC event last year.

“My responsibility is to make sure that our communities feel safe, secure, comfortable and satisfied, and entertained. … That doesn’t convey to me the right to have a platform for a lot of political views, I don’t think. I think my responsibility is to satisfy our audiences and our stakeholders, our employees, our shareholders.”

Activision Blizzard is among a growing number of tech giants to promote either Black Lives Matter or the recent protests that have swept through major U.S. cities. Other companies to voice support include Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter.

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