Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Riot esports head declares Hong Kong controversy off-limits for Worlds

Global Head of League of Legends Esports Issues Statement on Political Messages During Broadcast League of Legends is 10 years old and Riot is planning a full day of events
Emmett Howard | 12 October, 2019, 23:21

Riot Games is urging commentators and players to keep their personal views on sensitive issues private during League of Legends broadcasts.

According to Needham, they want to keep the broadcasts' focus on the game and the players, and that such sensitive topics require "deep understanding and a willingness to listen".

Esports has become entangled in the politics of China and Hong Kong in the last week, and now Riot is trying to get ahead of it with Worlds around the corner.

Riot Games has added male grooming brand Axe as a global sponsor of League of Legends esports.

Needham writes that sensitive issues and topics like the Hong Kong protests "require deep understanding and a willingness to listen, and can not be fairly represented in the forum our broadcast provides". In the statement, Needham explains that they reminded casters and pro players to avoid talking about sensitive topics, be it about politics or religion. As a result, gamers have been mocking Needham's statement, claiming it was paid for by Tencent.

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Rigney followed that initial posting Wednesday night with a series of tweets.

Riot Games has responded to community speculation that had been getting traction on the League of Legends subreddit and Twitter of not allowing their casters to mention Hong Kong Attitude in their broadcasts, and instead, say HKA. "There's been some confusion internally about this as well and we're working to correct it".

"Our decision also reflects that we have Riot employes and fans in regions where there has been (or there is risk of) political and/or social unrest, including places like Hong Kong".

The political situation in Hong Kong, where anti-government protesters have been clashing with police, has spilled over into the world of sports and esports.

On Monday, Blizzard banned professional Hearthstone player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung from participating in tournaments for an entire year after he voiced support for the Hong Kong protesters. Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, told The Verge that it would never ban players or content creators for political speech.

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