Fortnite developer Epic Games says it will never ban gamers for political speech

That follows Blizzard banning a pro Hearthstone player for speaking in support of the Hong Kong protests.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Epic Games

Fortnite players will never be banned for political speech or human rights statements, developer Epic Games has said. An Epic spokesperson told The Verge Wednesday that it "wouldn't ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics."

That follows game maker Blizzard removing a pro Hearthstone player from a tournament Tuesday after Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai made a statement in support of the 2019 Hong Kong protests during a "Grandmasters" competition. He's "ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 12 months, Blizzard said.

Replying to a Twitter thread on the Blizzard controversy, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted Wednesday that his company "supports the rights of Fortnite players and creators to speak about politics and human rights."

Sweeney added he would "absolutely" never ban a Fortnite player for making political statements despite being partially owned by Chinese giant Tencent. "That will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder," he tweeted.

Blizzard didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Epic said it had nothing more to add.

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