The professional gaming world is currently hosting some pretty wild drama, with one of the biggest names in professional Fortnite releasing a video calling for the public release of his contract with influencer lifestyle brand, FaZe Clan.
There’s a bit to unpack here, so I’m gonna do my best to condense it down for you as best I can. So there’s this bloke, Turner Tenney, who goes by the screen name, Tfue, and is considered to be one of the best Fortnite players in the world right now, maybe even bigger than old mate Tyler Blevins, AKA, Ninja.
Anyway, Tfue signed a three-year contract with FaZe Clan last year and since that point, has become huge in the gaming world, to the point where he’s now the biggest player on the FaZe roster. FaZe isn’t exactly a team, but more of a personality management platform, if that makes sense. It represents players not only as esports athletes but as “brands” and influencers. It also represents players across games other than Fortnite.
Now here’s the thing, Tfue has come to the realisation that the deal he signed sucks ass, so he wants out by way of a lawsuit. According to his lawyer, the contract is “oppressive” and prohibits Tfue from pursuing many opportunities, which, as Polygon points out, FaZe is not allowed to withhold from the player, as the company is not licensed with the California Labor Commissioner. Outside of this, the amount of earnings Tfue has to hand over to FaZe is, uh, pretty hectic.
Unverified copies of the original contract have been doing the rounds on social media showing some pretty wild splits in terms of money, which you can see below.
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) May 23, 2019
The owner of FaZe, Ricky Banks – or FaZe Banks – has apparently admitted that the first contract was “trash” and that he had tried to negotiate a better one with him.
After finding out about the lawsuit, Banks released a 20-minute YouTube video saying that he’s incredibly hurt by it and that he signed Tfue as a mate more than anything else. That fact, however, doesn’t change the contract’s alleged vagueness, which could allow Banks to turn around and claim huge chunks of Tfue’s cash whenever he wants to.
Banks also claims that the lawsuit includes a section detailing that FaZe Clan allegedly pressured Tfue into drinking and gambling, which he reckons was put there to “destroy” his brand.
A part of the video is Banks claiming that Tfue was a nobody when he was signed and that because of his hard work, he’s now a massive gamer star or whatever. You can suss the whole clip below if you like.
Yeah, he’s pretty fucking cut up about it.
Listen you fuck @TTfue I really do still love you to death. If I could’ve prevented this from happening I would have. I did everything I could. I’m exhausted and I know you must be too. Let’s sit down and talk, please. Bring whoever you want from your side, I’ll come alone.
— FaZe Banks (@Banks) May 23, 2019
Tfue, on the other hand, released a response to the video containing the hashtag – #ReleaseTheContract – in the title. First, he addresses the forced drinking and gambling allegations, stating that his lawyer is removing them from the lawsuit, as he didn’t want that stuff in there in the first place.
He goes on to say that he should have never signed the contract in the first place and that he was an idiot for doing it, but at the same time, he didn’t know any better at that point. His motivations are to shine a light on how kids getting into the esports industry are being taken advantage of and ultimately, he wants FaZe to release his contract for the public to see.
“These kids are getting ripped off, they’re getting taken advantage of,” he says. “There’s tons of people in contracts this bad, just like me. And I’m the first person to stand up and say this is not okay.”
You can see Tfue’s video below.
Banks says he will release the contract and apparently has “nothing to hide,” but we’re yet to see anything official come from him or FaZe in general. Banks has tried to organise meetings with Tfue to work it out but it seems as though Tfue has already made up his mind. He wants out and is looking to start his own esports venture.
Breaking : Tfue plans to make his own eSports Org
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) May 23, 2019
Whatever the outcome of this is, it’ll be pretty monumental for esports athletes moving forward. Given it’s still going through growing pains, something like this was always going to crop up at some point. Hopefully, it makes the industry fairer all round.