Gaming organizations are nothing new, but they have definitely received more of the entertainment spotlight over recent years, especially with everyone trying to be the best in Epic Games' Fortnite Battle Royale. One such organization to become well known as of late is FaZe Clan, which features the likes of Turner "Tfue" Tenney, Dennis "Cloakzy" Lapore, and more. That said, it would appear that Tfue isn't particularly thrilled with the contract he signed upon joining FaZe as he is now suing the organization over the contract itself being "oppressive" and violating California law.
In the recently filed lawsuit, Tfue's attorney, Bryan Freedman of Freedman + Taitelman, says, "In no uncertain terms, these gamers are artists, entertainers and content creators — they perform, they act, they direct, they edit and they stream." Due to esports being on the side of new, Freedman poses that there is "little to no regulation or oversight," much like one would find in traditional sports.
According to the lawsuit, Tfue feels that he has been missing out on opportunities with sponsors due to FaZe's unlawful contract. He also says that he only gets 20% of the revenue from branded videos that are across social media sites as well as only half of the revenue generated from touring and appearances. With the numbers the popular streamer is able to pull in across Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram, it's understandable how this would be a concern.
"That Gamer Agreement is grossly oppressive, onerous, and one-sided," says Freedman. "Faze Clan uses its illegal Gamer Contracts to limit Tenney to deals sourced exclusively by Faze Clan and to prevent Tenney from exploring deals presented by others; deals that are potentially superior to deals procured by Faze Clan; and deals that are not saddled with an eighty percent (80%) finder's fee."
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Freedman noted that they are trying to send a message. "The time is now for content creators, gamers and streamers to stop being taken advantage of through oppressive, unfair and illegal agreements," he said. "The significant legal actions taken today will be a wake up call that this behavior will no longer be tolerated. The gaming community deserves a safe environment that allows gamers the freedom to control their own careers."
For those interested in reading the complaint in full, it can be found right here. FaZe Clan owner Ricky Banks also let his thoughts be known on Twitter, which can be seen below.
And to have all this dropped on my head, without any warning. It blows my mind. I still don’t fully believe Turner knows understands what these claims are. I believe his team put this in front of him and encouraged him to follow through. I’m heartbroken homies 💔— FaZe Banks (@Banks) May 20, 2019
On thing is for certain at this point - esports is likely about to have some big moments in the coming months, and it has absolutely nothing to do with gameplay. It's going to be interesting to see how all of this plays out moving forward.