ESL CEO Warns Staff Not To Discuss Hong Kong Protests
The co-chief executive of ESL has told staff to avoid discussing the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. In a message sent to more than 700 employees, the co-CEO of Germany-based e-sports company ESL has told employees not to discuss Hong Kong amid ongoing protests in the city.
“All of you might have heard [about] the political discussions and strikes surrounding the situation in Hong Kong, China,” he wrote on October 9. “As a global company being active in many countries around the globe, we naturally do abstain from political discussions and setting the best example by living our values.
“Therefore, we would like to suggest to not actively engage in the discussion, especially on social media,” he said.
A spokesperson for ESL said that Reichert’s message was a “reminder to ESL employees about the general social media policies that have been in place for many years”.
Founded in 2000, ESL is the world’s largest e-sports company. It organises video game competitions and was most recently valued at US$425 million (HK$3.33 billion).
In September, ESL announced that it was forming a partnership with Huya, a Chinese streaming service backed by Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent. Huya pledged to buy US$30 million (HK$235 million) in ESL shares. The partnership was expected to expand ESL’s access to China’s huge competitive gaming market.
The news follows Blizzard’s suspension of Hearthstone Grandmaster Chung ‘blitzchung’ Ng Wai, who called for Hong Kong’s liberation in post-match interview. Separately, Riot Games, which is owned by Chinese publisher Tencent, warned League of Legends streamers and players to avoid “sensitive topics” on the air. Tencent also owns a five percent stake in Blizzard.