- Blizzard appears to have been caught lying about the Hearthstone controversy that has embroiled the company in recent months.
- After President J. Allen Brack “apologized” at the start of BlizzCon 2019, the company claimed employees were free to weigh in on Hong Kong on social media – just not game streams.
- However, the evidence does not support that claim.
Blizzard hasn’t been doing so well lately. I don’t mean financially – they’re performing pretty well in that area. No, I speak of morality and brand perception. Ever since the PR nightmare that centered on the infamous “Blitzchung” incident, the company has been struggling to claw its way back into the gaming community’s good graces.
It all came to a head at the start of BlizzCon 2019. The president of Blizzard himself, J. Allen Brack, stepped out onto the stage and “apologized” – in the loosest possible interpretation of the word. No mention of what they had done. No mention of any of the parties involved. No specific mentions of any lines that had been crossed. Obviously, this wasn’t really good enough.
It’s Only Going to Get Worse for Blizzard
Now fast forward to the weekend, and we’ve got the next faux pas for Blizzard. Brack was interviewed in PC Gamer, clarifying the company’s position on the matter. He basically reaffirmed the PR stance that they’d been taking up until that point. Brack claimed that in any other format, the speech would have been fine, but that any sort of political discussion isn’t welcome on a post-match stream.
Critically, Brack also said that the company is comfortable with employees sharing their political opinions on their personal social media accounts.
“We have a long history of that being part of the culture of the company for employees. That’s certainly part of the culture of the relationship that we have with the community. And so employees are free to post on their social media accounts,” Brack said.
Little did Brack know that this specific quote was about to be proven a lie in the worst possible way.
Deleted Tweets Tell a Very Different Story About Blizzard’s Behavior
Justin Conroy is an Overwatch League coach. He happens to stand by what Blitzchung said while also believing that Blizzard was technically within their rights to punish him. The reason that we know all this is because back in early October, he tweeted about it from his personal account. However, if you go and try to find that tweet today, you’re not going to be able to… because he claims he was forced to remove it.
— Ben Orlebeke (@ben_orlebeke) October 10, 2019
That’s right. Not only did Blizzard – the owner of the Overwatch League – apparently force someone to remove a tweet (from their personal account, no less), but they also managed to trap themselves in a lie and completely invalidate their own apology at the same time.