It seems that the Riot Games Hong Kong censorship controversy has come down to an issue with training and policy more than anything else. A statement has been released category denying the allegations that Riot Games has disallowed casters from saying the phrase “Hong Kong” on air.
Earlier, Riot Games was accused of instructing casters not to say “Hong Kong” during livestreams, largely due to a caster who was speaking the name of a team. A caster began to say the team name “Hong Kong Attitude,” but he corrected himself and changed it to the abbreviation “HKA.” Naturally, this led to an accusation that Riot Games (which is owned by Chinese company Tencent) had ordered casters not to say “Hong Kong” on-air.
In the time since then, Riot Games Communications Lead Ryan “Riot Cactopus” Rigney has come out with a statement on his Twitter account asserting that there is no such policy and that it mostly comes down to caster training.
“We want to correct some confusion that we are seeing regarding our coverage of Hong Kong Attitude. 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.”
Mr. Rigney followed up this statement on the Riot Games Hong Kong controversy with a further statement and additional information.
“To make this as explicity as possible,” he began, “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,” he concluded. “We should have better prepped our casters and we’re reiterating this policy to them today.”
To make this as explicit as possible, 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.
— Ryan K. Rigney (@RKRigney) October 9, 2019