A small group of Blizzard employees are protesting against the actions of their employer.
Blizzard China Walkout

A small group of Activision-Blizzard employees staged a walkout on Tuesday afternoon of this week to protest against their employer. Earlier this week, Blizzard had banned a professional Hearthstone player, Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, after he voiced his support for the pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters. Blitzchung voiced his support during a post-game interview during an official livestream.

Not only did Blizzard quickly cut away from the interview afterwards, but they displayed a complete lack of a backbone afterwards. The company rescinded all of Blitzchung's professional winnings for the current competitive season. They also banned Blitzchung from competing in any official Hearthstone event for a period of one year. As if that wasn't pathetic enough, Blizzard also went on to fire the two commentators that just happened to be present during the post-game interview with Blitzchung.

Blizzard employees that walked out on Tuesday afternoon shared a few comments with The Daily Beast. Their remarks seem to echo many similar sentiments around the web over these past few days.

"The action Blizzard took against the player was pretty appalling but not surprising,” a longtime Blizzard employee told The Daily Beast. “Blizzard makes a lot of money in China, but now the company is in this awkward position where we can’t abide by our values."
"I’m disappointed," another current Blizzard employee said. "We want people all over the world to play our games, but no action like this can be made with political neutrality."
Those that spoke with The Daily Beast did so under the protection of anonymity out of fear of being professionally reprimanded.

The number of employees seems to have fluctuated throughout the day. Reports say that the group ranged from around a dozen employees up to around 30 before they all eventually departed in the late afternoon. The group congregated around the large Orc statue in front of Blizzard's main entrance. The statue that is surrounded by Blizzard's eight core values, of which "every voice matters" is one of those values. The protesters had covered up that value with a piece of paper during the protests yesterday.

It was also noticed that Blizzard gave two very different public statements on their decision to ban Blitzchung. While most of the world saw the one public statement, those in China saw a slightly different statement.

Blizzard's official statement in China was made through a Hearthstone Weibo post and included some very obvious added bootlicking. Without a doubt, the added statement of "defend(ing) the pride of our country" was made to appease consumers and investors in that region. At present, Chinese tech company Tencent has a 5% ownership stake in Blizzard. In the last quarter, the Asia-Pacific accounted for 12% of Activision-Blizzard's total revenues. It's clear that Blizzard values a bit of extra profits than doing what is morally and ethically right.

Blizzard's actions have also drawn ire from political figures on both sides of the aisle. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said the following on Tuesday afternoon.

"China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in U.S. politics today is gone."
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) also issued a public statement against Blizzard's actions.

"Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck."
One of those Blizzard employees noted that this feels like a new era for Blizzard. Over the years, the company has complied with censorship requests for their games in order to keep doing business in the region.

"Doing business in China, it’s been easier to ignore the authoritarianism of the government because they were asking us to do things like remove a skeleton [from a game].

"The stakes are so much higher now. What was previously an obvious decision is much less obvious now."
The image above comes from Reddit, showing a snapshot of the walkout.