Riot Says it Hasn't Banned Casters from Saying 'Hong Kong'

By Alistair Jones on at

League of Legends developer Riot Games says that it hasn’t told its commentators to avoid mentioning the full name of esports team Hong Kong Attitude. In the wake of the ongoing controversy around Blizzard’s response to the protests in Hong Kong, viewers noticed that casters appeared to be correcting themselves when referring to the team, but Riot says that that’s simply the result of “some confusion internally.”

In a post on Reddit earlier this week, one viewer noted multiple occasions on which casters started to say Hong Kong Attitude before seemingly correcting themselves to refer to the team by its tournament code, HKA. Riot is 100% owned by Tencent, the Chinese publisher that also owns a stake in Blizzard, whose response to a Hearthstone pro’s support for the protests has sparked widespread anger in the community. As a result, the suggestion that the success of Hong Kong Attitude in the Play-In stage of the game’s Worlds 2019 tournament doesn’t seem entirely unrealistic.

Riot, however, says that that’s not the case. Last night, communications lead Ryan Rigney tweeted out an official statement saying that “we want to correct some confusion that we are seeing regarding our coverage of Hong Kong Attitude.” The statement says that casters “refer to their team interchangeably by both their full name and their tricode abbreviation HKA, as we routinely do with all the teams in our ecosystem.”

In a follow-up tweet, Rigney said that “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.” Rigney also says that “we should have better prepped our casters and we’re reiterating this policy to them today.”

HKA defeated Isurus 3-1 in Tuesday’s Play-In final to qualify for the main tournament as the third seed from the LMS region, which incorporates organisations from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. The tournament’s group stage begins on Saturday, October 12.