May 21, 2019 Forbes.com
 

Tfue Is Suing Faze Clan In An Explosive Lawsuit That's Rocking The Esports World

View full-size PDF article

View original "Tfue Is Suing Faze Clan In An Explosive Lawsuit That's Rocking The Esports World" - article by Forbes.com



Tfue Is Suing Faze Clan In An Explosive Lawsuit That's Rocking The Esports World - article by Forbes.com

Tfue Is Suing Faze Clan In An Explosive Lawsuit That's Rocking The Esports World



by Dave Thier
May 21, 2019 | 09:45am



photo: 'colorful illuminated keyboard'| (Credits: Getty)





Even in the world of Youtube stars and Twitch streamers, the accusations are dramatic. One of the world's biggest Fortnite stars is suing his management organization with an explosive set of allegations that are already rippling through the world of esports: Turner "Tfue" Tenny is accusing esports organization Faze Clan of illegally limiting his business opportunities, taking up to 80 percent of his earnings and encouraging him to gamble and drink underage. The details were first revealed in a Hollywood Reporter report yesterday that includes the complaint in full.

“In no uncertain terms, these gamers are artists, entertainers and content creators — they perform, they act, they direct, they edit and they stream,” writes attorney Bryan Freedman. "Because the esports industry is so new, there is often little to no organization or oversight. There are no real organizations such as unions or guilds to help protect the content creators/streamers that drive the industry. Most of these content creator/streamers are also very young, and are often unsophisticated, unseasoned and trusting. As a result, these young content creator/streamers are susceptible to being taken advantage of and exploited--often by those that are supposed to be looking out for their best interests. Unfortunately, this has become industry standard."

Faze Clan was quick to respond, both as individual members and as an organization. The esports organization flatly denies the accusation that it took up to 80 percent of Tfue's winnings, claiming that it has not made any money off of Tfue's tournament winnings or revenue from Twitch and Youtube. According to Faze Clan, the organization has only made $60,000 from its partnership with Tfue:

@FaZeClan | 5:06 PM - May, 20, 2019

Faze Clan's response to today's press article regarding Tfue:

We're shocked and disappointed to see the news of Tfue's press article and lawsuit. Over the course of our partnership with him, which began in April 2018, FaZe Clan has collected:

$0 - Tournament Winnings
$0 - Twitch Revenue
$0 - YouTube Revenue
$0 - from any social platform

In Fact, we have only collected a total of $60,000 from our partnership, while Tfue has earned millions as a member of FaZe Clan. While contracts are different with each player, all of them, - inluding Tfue's - have a maximum of 20% to FaZe Clan in both tournament winnings as well as content revenue, with 80% to the player. In Turner's case, neither of those have been collected by FaZe Clan.

We're proud of waht we've accomplished together over the past year with Turner and will continue to support him.

In a followup statement, Faze Clan says that there was, in fact, a clause in Tfue's contract that stated Faze clan would be able to take up to 80% of Tfue's brand deals on social media platforms. However, it claims that it never collected on that clause:

Tenney has argued that he has turned down or missed out on lucrative sponsorship deals as a result of his contract.

Given the extremely public nature of all parties involved, the allegations have already drawn heated commentary from all corners of the esports and streaming worlds, and that's only likely to continue. The details of the suit are still developing, but we could well look at this as a watershed moment for the still-young esports industry and the relationships between the talent that drive it and the organizations that manage it. Not only are esports revenues expected to hit $1 billion by 2021, but many of the biggest stars are also either young or underage, raising all sorts of thorny questions that other entertainment industries have dealt with in the past. This appears to be a central piece of Freedman's lawsuit, which he is positioning both as a specific complaint and as a broad attempt to reform agreements between content creators and the organizations that manage them.

“The time is now for content creators, gamers and streamers to stop being taken advantage of through oppressive, unfair and illegal agreements,” he writes.

--------

Dave Thier | Contributor

I'm a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Republic, IGN.com, Wired and more. I cover social games, video games, technology and that whole gray area that happens when technology and consumers collide.