Activision Blizzard has lost one of its most well-known American casters.
Hearthstone caster Nathan “Admirable” Zamora is leaving the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament behind over the recent controversy surrounding Blizzard.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Admirable confirmed that he is not only stepping away from the Grandmasters season, but will also not be attending the Masters Tour in Bucharest or Blizzcon.
“This is my passion. This pursuit has been my life, and I’m lucky that I’ve been able to make it a career. But I cannot compromise my conviction,” Admirable said. “Without change that would convince me that Blizzard will uphold their core value ‘Every Voice Matters,’ I cannot continue casting this game.”
He also states that fans should not be angry at other community members, or Blizzard’s own employees, for not making the same decision.
Brian Kibler, another Hearthstone caster, has also decided to leave Blizzard. Both have been clear that they are open to working with Blizzard again, under the right circumstances.
The move stems from Blizzard’s handling of Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai. The publisher handed a 12-month ban to the Hearthstone pro after he voiced his support of the Hong Kong protests during a post-game interview.
The punishment initially included a one-year suspension and stripping of his prize winnings. The two desk analysts who were hosting the interview were also fired.
The severe sanction of blitzchung resulted in a deluge of criticism from the entire gaming world for seemingly kowtowing to the Chinese government at a time when it is receiving intense criticism on a variety of issues. The company has since lessened the punishment on blitzchung, but that has done little to rebuild its damaged reputation. It is also unclear if this slight change of course from Blizzard is enough to woo back Admirable.