(Photo : Maik Jonietz | Unsplash) After the controversial suspension of a pro "Hearthstone" gamer, Blizzard employees staged a walkout to protest the game publisher’s decision. Following the ban, Blizzard has been receiving criticisms for silencing free speech.

A number of Blizzard employees walked out of the company's Irvine, California, office following the suspension of a Hearthstone gamer over his pro-Hong Kong views.

Blizzard Employees Staged Walkout To Protest

The walkout happened Tuesday in front of an Orc Warrior statue outside the Blizzard office, a couple of unidentified employees told the Daily Beast.

According to sources, it all started around 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Protester count fluctuated throughout the day, ranging from a dozen to as much as 30 people until the late afternoon.

A Reddit user who claims to be one of the employees posted a photo on r/Hearthstone subreddit, showing protesters gathered around the statue, a spot that's likely visible to executive offices.

"The action Blizzard took against the player was pretty appalling but not surprising," a Blizzard employee told The Daily Beast. The employee added that Blizzard generates a considerable amount of money in China, and now the video game publisher is in an "awkward position where we can't abide by our values."

Chinese tech company Tencent owns a 5 percent stake in Activision Blizzard, the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment.

Blitzchung's Suspension

Blizzard suspended professional Hearthstone gamer Chung Ng Wai — also known for his handle "Blitzchung" — earlier this week over his pro-Hong Kong protest sentiments.

During a post-match interview in a Blizzard-sponsored tournament held in Taiwan, Blitzchung yelled "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" while wearing a gas mask that's similar to what Hong Kong protesters use.

Shortly after the incident, Blizzard released a statement saying that Blitzchung violated competition rules by saying things that could harm the company. Aside from being banned for a year from playing in any tournaments, his actions also cost him the prize money he already won.

Blizzard has been criticized for allegedly silencing free speech and has since been receiving backlash here and there after Blitzchung's controversial suspension.

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