Blizzard has announced that Hearthstone Grandmaster Paul “Zalae” Nemeth will not be allowed to compete in future Hearthstone Esports events due to unspecified allegations made against him.
“Hearthstone Esports is aware of allegations made against Americas Grandmaster, Paul ‘Zalae’ Nemeth,” it tweeted. “Upon further review, we have suspended Zalae from competing in all Hearthstone Esports events.”
Blizzard didn’t comment on the nature of the allegation but it’s widely believed to be claims made earlier this year by Mythgard community manager and streamer Rini that he was physically and emotional abusive during the time that they lived together. The allegations were made in January but Blizzard made no comment on them until today, one day before the start of the 2021 Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament.
It’s not known whether Nemeth’s suspension is permanent, or if he will be reinstated or given the opportunity to appeal at some point in the future. It’s also not clear how Nemeth’s spot will be filled at this last minute: There are no doubt plenty of aspiring Grandmasters who meet the qualifying criteria, but none of them will be properly prepared to take part in the event.
I’ve reached out to Blizzard and Nemeth for more information, and will update if I receive a reply.