Riot reassures fans that ‘Hong Kong’ is not being censored at Worlds

Hong Kong Attitude

With pressure growing on Blizzard after its controversial decision to ban Hong Kongese Hearthstone player Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai, Riot has also come under scrutiny in recent days for allegedly censoring the words ‘Hong Kong’ during their Worlds coverage, something which Riot denies.

A Reddit post flagged a number of instances during the coverage of Hong Kong Attitude’s play-in game versus Isurus Gaming where casters and analysts appeared to avoid directly saying ‘Hong Kong’ and referred to the team as ‘HKA’ instead. The post also alleges that the post-game interview with Hong Kong Attitude was broadcast on a delay or had been prerecorded, in case any of the team decided to use the opportunity to express any political opinion as Blitzchung did during a Hearthstone event.

Riot has since responded to the allegations, with Ryan Rigney, the League of Legends communications lead, posting a statement on Twitter to reassure fans that casters were not under any instruction to avoid using the words ‘Hong Kong,’ and that teams are often referred to by their full and abbreviated names.

“As you can see from our official @lolesports twitter account, we refer to their team interchangeably by both their full name and their tricode abbreviation HKA, as we routinely do with all of the teams in our ecosystem,” reads the statement.

Rigney continues: “We aren’t telling anyone to avoid saying “Hong Kong.” We’d just rather the team be referred to by its full name. There’s been some confusion internally about this as well and we’re working to correct it.”

“One more personal note on this: I think everyone is very sensitive to this issue right now given the events of the last week. We should have better prepped our casters and we’re reiterating this policy to them today.”

When pushed on the issue of the interviews during the broadcast by esports consultant Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau, Rigney notes that pre-recorded interviews are frequently used during League of Legends coverage.

The issue will certainly need clearing up as the the group stages of the World Championships approach. Hong Kong Attitude will be joining G2 Esports, Cloud9 and Griffin in Group A, with the team’s first game taking place on October 13.

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