Epic Won't Ban Fortnite Players For Political Speech

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Unlike Blizzard, Epic does not plan to ban players for their political opinion or belief.
Unlike Blizzard, Epic does not plan to ban players for their political opinion or belief. Epic Games

Blizzard right now is battling a massive PR nightmare after Hearthstone Grandmaster Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai called for Hong Kong's liberation from China. Definitely taking advantage of the narrative, the video game company Epic Games has joined the discussion and said that Fortnite players are always free to speak their minds without fear of being punished.

In an interview, the studio resonated its stance and said that players have the freedom when it comes to political speech. "Epic supports everyone’s right to express their views on politics and human rights," a rep told the site. "We wouldn’t ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics."

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney repeated the same statement on Twitter and even responded to a variety predictable questions regarding the never-ending influence of Chinese tech giant Tencent, which holds a significant (albeit not controlling) interest in the studio. Responding to a tweet suggesting that the NBA decided to throw one of its general managers under the bus just so it can earn the praise of the Chinese audiences, the executive said, "That will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder."

Some might easily see apparent opportunism that is at play right here. However, Sweeney said that the statement was not really issued proactively and rather meant as a response to a request for comment. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that it is a sweeping promise, one that any player in the Fortnite community can test in the near future.

As of this writing, the controversy stirring around Blitzchung's call to "liberate Hong Kong" continues to steamroll. For instance, there was an American University player who held up a banner with a line that says, "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz" at the end of an American Collegiate Hearthstone Championship. Also, just recently, Brian Kibler, another high-profile figure in the Hearthstone community, announced that he will not take part in future Hearthstone Grandmasters livestreams because of the studio’s "completely unwarranted and unfair" treatment of Blitzchung.

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