(steam hissing) (monster groans) (flame roars) ♪ We’re born different ♪ ♪ We’re born innocent ♪ ♪ We’re born perfect ♪ – I thought tyranny
would be more snappier, but that was after
Justin did these credits and he’s asleep now, so. (pops mouth) There we go. Because we’re talking about
the Hong Kong protests and the Blitzchung this week, I thought I’d wear a
mask like the protests and like Blitzchung did. But I didn’t think ahead
and get a proper one, so I’m wearing a “Halloween
III: Season of the Witch” mask. Big up democracy. Suppression of speech,
censor of the media, harassment of the journalists
and political activists. Secret arrests and closed door trials. Police brutality, torture. These are just some of
the human rights abuses attributed to China’s
totalitarian government, under the fist of the
President Xi Jinping. A tyrant whose confidence and boldness has only grown alongside his nations rise in global influence. And companies like Activision Blizzard not only ignore the terrorism
and abuse going on the nation, they actively support
and silently condone it in there desperation, their
sick and pathetic desperation, to make money from the country’s
massive consumer market. The Chinese market is a
big, fat, juicy commodity to entertainment and sports
corporation across America. More and more, movie studios
incorporate Chinese locations into their productions and
outright tailor their films to appeal to the Chinese viewers because of the sheer
amount of money to made in becoming a hit there. “Venom”, for example, made headlines, not for being a critically acclaimed or particularly successful movie here, but for breaking records
in the Chinese box office. The message has been
clear for a while now, China’s market is so vast, so influential, that you needn’t be a hit anywhere else. You crack China and you’ve just been given the key to sequel city. Now on its own, this isn’t
necessarily a terrible thing. Western audiences are not the authority on what’s good entertainment, but the success these
companies are enjoying is not happening in a bubble. It’s not devoid of context. China’s market is making
billion dollar companies even more billions of dollars on top of the billions of dollars they already roll around in. But it’s also turned the majority of them into groveling, sycophantic cowards who can’t do something
as simple as, you know, condemn human rights abuses or even allow their
audiences to do the same. The NBA recently came under
fire for pandering to China, after Houston Rockets
General Manager, Daryl Morey, shared a now deleted tweet in support of Hong Kong’s protests against China’s authoritarian government. The NBA, which has
invested millions in China and credits 10% of revenue to the country tripped over itself to
appease the despotic regime, criticizing Morey for,
“Regrettably offending people!” They would walk that back
somewhat, a day later, reaffirming a commitment to free speech, but the damage had been
done on both fronts. The NBA sparked outrage in America for it’s initial response, and it has seen every Chinese sponsor suspend ties in the overall fall out. Of particular note and interest, Tencent Sports joined in on
the threats and punishment over a single tweet support democracy, suspending live streaming
and reporting on NBA games. And yes, for the video
game savvy viewers at home, the name of that company was Tencent. Tencent. Hong Kong is a bit of a sore
spot for China right now, almost as sore as it is for
President Jinping to be compared to Winnie the Pooh. Which he famously hates to the point of banning the friendly yellow
bears image in the country, like a mature and secure person would do. Hong Kong has been in the
midst of protests for months over a proposed bill
that allow extradition of criminal suspects
from Hong Kong to China, something main saw as Chinese overreach in a country that enjoys
a level of autonomy from Beijing’s regime. While the bill has been
withdrawn the protests continue with further demands. Chiefly the release and
exoneration of arrested protestors, an unbiased investigation into allegations of police brutality, a rescinding of the classification
of protesters rioters and the resignation of the
Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam. The protests are seen by many
as a fight for democracy, fought by people who rightly
fear the increased authority of a violent and tyrannical government. Activision Blizzard, by the
way, does not support democracy. That might sound harsh but
that was the ultimate message, whether they intended it or not, of Activision Blizzard in
the wake of its decision to punish a professional
“Hearthstone” player for voicing his support of the protests. Most of you will have
already heard of this bit, but for comprehension sake, pro “Hearthstone” player, Blitzchung, donned a mask on a stream
in solidarity of protesters and yelled, “Liberate Hong Kong. “Revolution of our time.” In response, Activision
Blizzard suspended Blitzchung from official “Hearthstone”
competition for a year, said it would withhold prize
money he was rightly owed and stated it would no longer
work with the two casters who shared the stream with Blitzchung. Blizzard, in a truly cowardly display, hid behind a broadly and
vaguely written clause in its rules of conduct
that state the company can in its sole discretion, punish someone if they bring
themselves into disrepute or otherwise offend a
section of the public. The offended public in this
case, well, wouldn’t it, would have to be the Chinese government. Which at the time of punishment hadn’t even said a fucking word. Blizzard merely panicked
and it’s a miserable bid to avoid upsetting
anyone who might threaten it’s a lucrative money-making
opportunities in the sector. The company would, after days of silence, reduce the punishment to try
and get the heat off itself, but we’ll get to the company’s bullshit statement on the matter a little later. In the wake of Blitzchung’s punishment the company is quite fucking
rightly earned itself a hailstorm of criticism
and added protest. They deserve this criticism
because Activision Blizzard, in no uncertain terms, is run
by craven, boot licking worms, who have literally sold out
human rights and human dignity, much less their own dignity,
joining a shameful collective of corporations that are in
emboldening in Jinping’s rule. Activision Blizzard chose tyranny. By hiding behind roles and clauses they’ve tried remain apolitical, but that’s not how this
fucking works Blizzard. That ain’t how this fucking works. You can’t have an apolitical response to a political statement. The moment Blizzard chose to respond, Blizzard made a political
statement, a political choice, and in this case Blizzard chose tyranny. Companies love to have
their cake and fuck it too, this is why so many game
developers say that their games aren’t political, even while exploiting political imagery and messaging. This is why so many corporations want to “Leave politics at the door,” while making money from despotic regimes. Why WWE will gladly take
blood money from Saudi Arabia to perform shows for the
benefit of murderous despots, but no longer has the fucking spine to even say Saudi Arabia
on its western broadcasts. Companies are terrified
of making statements, without realizing that that
terror is, itself, a statement. Activision Blizzard, fearful
and deferent, chose tyranny. And then lots of fun things happened. In a classic example of
the Streisand effect, Blitzchung’s a message has
only spread like a wildfire. During a collegiate “Hearthstone” stream a sign was held up proclaiming, “Free Hong Kong, boycott Blizz,” prompting the stream to
hurriedly edit it from view. The three players who held up the sign, Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark and Tjammer, were aware of potential repercussions and were prepared to quit in protest. “When we met for practice that
day before the tournament, “we were all thinking the same thing, “that we wanted to do
something,” Dark told Vice. “Because, obviously,
we were the first thing “on Blizzard’s stream after
they made the decision. “If we did nothing we were missing a pretty big opportunity.” These were 19-year-olds and
they understood, Blizzard, the importance of making
a stand here, unlike you. In case you ever want
to know what integrity actually looks like Blizzard, look to those collegiate players. The hashtag BoycottBlizzard, has exploded on Twitter with viewers of official “Hearthstone”
streams organizing to spam “Liberate Hong Kong,
revolution of our time,” in attached chat rooms. At least one popular “Hearthstone”
caster, Brian Kibler, quit in response and will
no longer be commentating on the Hearthstone Grandmasters. On a more amusing and inspiring note, the community is set
about attempting to ruin the Chinese success of
another Blizzard production, “Overwatch” by turning
the character of Mei into an icon of Hong Kong resistance. In the Hong Kong subreddit,
user, omegalulit, uploaded an official “Overwatch” short that had been edited to show Mei reacting in support of the protests. Decked out in emblems of solidarity. Artists then went to fucking
town with the may pictures, creating some amazing pieces of work that show Mei standing up
for Hong Kong’s people, wearing masks and gear built for protest. China famously censors media
for a wide variety of reasons, mainly to suppress public information and curtail attempts to organize. Twitter and YouTube are
officially blocked there. China will also censor
anything that embarrasses or otherwise encourages
protests against the government, such as the aforementioned
imagery of Winnie the Pooh, a cartoon bear for children, that Xi Jinping is so
distressed and offended by. Theoretically, with enough of a push, Mei could be associated
with Hong Kong demonstration to the point where China will demand she suffer the same fate as the Pooh Bear. Which would put Blizzard
into one hell of a situation. That is of course just an
idea and may never happen, but even if it goes nowhere, using Blizzards own characters
as a form of protest is just great. After a working week of silence, in the face of protest and criticism, Blizzard finally released a
statement late Friday night to sidestep the regular weekly news cycle. Make no mistake, that was
a calculated fucking move. In the statement the company promised to reverse its decision to
steal Blitzchung’s prize money and will reduce his suspension
from a year to six months. How benevolent. The two casters will also now
be suspended for six months instead of unpersoned. And Blizzard has tried
to claim none of this had anything to do with China, it just coincidentally had
everything to do with China. Mm-hm? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Company president, J. Allen Brack said, “The specific views
expressed by Blitzchung “were not a factor in
the decision we made. “I want to be clear our,
our relationships in China “had no influence on our decision. “If this had been the opposing viewpoint, “delivered in the same
divisive and deliberate way, “we would have felt enacted the same.” Bullshit! Blizzard claims any decisive
if statement is punishable. But what if, say, Blitzchung
had spoken up for LGBTQ rights or asylum seekers or
anything that can be argued in the exact same way to be divisive and
deliberate and offensive to someone somewhere. There’s no way in hell
that Blizzard would suspend Blitzchung for yelling trans rights and they shouldn’t suspend
anyone for yelling trans rights. Trans rights, by the way. Even, as it would,
inevitably create an outcry from fucking assholes. Do I think a tournament participants should be able to yell anything? No, not completely. I mean hate speech, for example, is not really free
speech, it’s hate speech. And that’s the kind of
thing that you’d think Blizzard’s rules for
expression would pertain to. You know, yelling racist
or homophobic shit, not supporting democracy. Brack claimed his company is
still committed to the slogan. “Think globally, lead
responsibly, and importantly, “every voice matters.” And I’m amazed he said
this with a straight face. He actually said Blizzard is, “Encouraging everybody to
share their points of view,” when it literally isn’t. It’s actively discouraged anybody from ever supporting Hong Kong. Which is it Blizzard? You just can’t have it both ways here. You cannot claim that you
encourage people to speak up, while punishing people for speaking up. That’s the kind of propagandistic lying that an oppressive dictatorial
government would, oh. Blizzard claims it’s behavior
had nothing to do with China, it just happened that this
behavior mirrored exactly what dozens of other corporations have been doing to appease China. Sure, Blizzard, we all
fucking believe you. And I’m sure the fact
that Blitzchung, himself, now says he’ll be more careful about expressing his Hong Kong opinions, totally isn’t the chilling
effect you were going for. But well, I’m just saying it’s fitting that your name is Blizzard. I think it’s fairly clear,
watching this video, that I’ve made my decision
on the whole matter. But I tell you what, I will
allow for the possibility that Blizzard made its
decision entirely independent of any relationships it
might have with China. I will allow for that possibility. Doesn’t change the message
their decision sent. Okay? Doesn’t change the implication
of what Blizzard did. The implied threat. None of that changes. Whatever their intentions may have been, whatever independence the
decision may have had, doesn’t change that. Blizzard, the things you do
do not happen in a bubble, they do not happen without context and despite what corporations
fucking try to tell you, their decisions are not apolitical. Their decisions do not
happen without consequence, without message. Blizzard, you fucking tools. Now I criticize capitalism
on this show a lot because it’s capitalism’s focus on gaining more and more money without
regard for consequence that allows for and actively encourages major triple-A publishers to
shit all over their customers and cause direct, long-term
damage to the video game market for short-term financial gain. That’s just what happens. Some people tell me it’s at least better than the alternative. “It’s at least better
than communism,” they say, confident in their either-or argument. And I think it’s so deliciously
emblematic of capitalism, that we’re seeing so many
American corporations bend over backwards to please and appease one particularly oppressive dictatorship that just so happens to
identify as a communist one. Where is capitalism being the alternative in this case, exactly? There are no ideals in
corporate capitalism. There are no standards, no
beliefs, no regard for humanity. But there is, certainly, censorship. Actual, proper, full-on censorship. Not like a game journalist
criticizing something once, but actual cases of organizations with money and power suppressing speech to placate a government. Disney, for example, forbids any mention of Chinese politics on ESPN, allowing criticism of Daryl Morey, but disallowing mention
of what the criticisms actually fucking about. Cafe Pacific fired
employees for Facebook posts supporting the protests. TikTok is censoring references
to Tibetan independence and Tiananmen Square. Marriott fucking fired an
employee for, in their words, “Wrongfully a liking a
tweet,” from a Tibetan group. Wrongfully liking? Fuck you and your wrong likes! A large number of
corporations are removing and apologizing for any
references on their platforms that even vaguely portray
Taiwan is anything other than a dependent of China. Including Apple, Google, Viacom, Gap, Audi, American Airlines and Ray-Ban. When I say vague I really
mean vague, as well. Taiwanese flags, not allowed to be shown. Taiwan can’t be just called Taiwan, it has to be called Taiwan China. Amidst all the China basketball furor, fans are reportedly being
kicked out of NBA games if they’re holding Pro Hong Kong signs or at the very least, getting
those signs confiscated. Not in China, in America! (Jim vocalizing “The
Star-Spangled Banner”) And that’s a mere handful of corporations displaying outwardly, that they’re in the
pocket and under the thumb of Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, Tencent, the
aforementioned company responsible for punishing the NBA in the wake of a single
man swiftly deleted tweet has insinuated itself
into the game industry to the point where a large
number of well-known, video game companies answer
in no small part to it. Tencent has invested
in Epic Games, Ubisoft, Grinding Gear Games,
Bluehole and obviously, Activision Blizzard. But again, I’m sure Blizzard’s decision had nothing to do with China. Tencent also has full
control of Riot Games, which itself, bans mention of Hong Kong in its official live streams. Forcing casters to refer to
one team, Hong Kong Attitude, as merely HKA. But again, none of this has
anything to do with the China. And that’s a mere sliver
of the 300 investments Tencent’s made across
a number of industries. Tencent, as we’ve already learnt, is all in on pro-government censorship. So yeah, look forward to
more of this bullshit. Some have defended the
behavior of Activision Blizzard and the vast gaggle of
pro-censorship, pro-fascist companies joining them in their greed. The market they’re trying to crack is worth billions, I’m told. They have to make as much
money as possible, I’m told. They have no choice but to bend the knee if they want to be a
thriving business, I’m told. But this isn’t just business. As I said earlier, whether they intend to make these statements or not, these companies are making statements. And the statement is,
they will tongue asshole. They will tongue dictatorial
asshole to make more money. And with their tongue so
firmly up Xi Jinping’s asshole, they’re in a prime position to do what I think they should
be doing, eating poo! There’s this one person who’s
been heranging me on Twitter all week about this. I blocked ’em, but I’m pretty
sure they’re watching this. Hello, weirdo. They’ve been calling me racist all week because I criticized the
totalitarian Chinese government. Apparently, you can’t do that. Apparently, you can’t side with the Hong Kong protesters on this one. And apparently, you can’t criticize the corporate cowardice that’s
been on display in America. So, yeah, all right,
whatever you say mate. Fucking hell. No, no, no, I’m fairly
confident that I can criticize a totalitarian government anywhere. You know, be it in China or
be it in the United States. (gasps) I didn’t say
that, I didn’t say that. Abolish ICE. Thank God for me, I mean. That’s what I meant. Fucked Trump, no, thank God for me! I didn’t say anything. Don’t censor me on this one. YouTube do not shut me– (beeps) ♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ Everybody’s thinking ’bout me ♪