Tfue - one of the most popular streamers on Twitch - and his organization FaZe Clan are clashing over a contract dispute. Tfue has filed a lawsuit. Here's what's happened so far.
FaZe Clan has been one of - if not the - biggest names in gaming ever since the Call of Duty heyday. They're certainly the most popular orgs in Fortnite right now, with names like Cloakzy, Tfue, Nate Hill, Cizzorz, and many more representing them.
Turner "Tfue" Tenney is the most popular streamer on FaZe right now, and one of the most all-around famous Fortnite players. His stream is constantly at the top of the charts and he regularly performs well in tournaments.
Today, news broke that Tfue and FaZe Clan have clashed. Tfue wants out of his contract and has filed a lawsuit with them.
The Tfue Lawsuit
The lawsuit came to light earlier today through an article by the Hollywood Reporter, which outlines the allegations Tfue made about FaZe Clan.
The lawsuit alleges that FaZe Clan is violating California law with their practices, and argues that esports organizations should be held to the same regulatory standards as managers, agents, and similar players in the entertainment industry.
The key complaint coming from the Tfue camp revolves around sponsorship opportunities. Tfue and other members of FaZe Clan are only allowed to work with approved brands, restricting the availability of other opportunities for their content creators and pro players.
What's more, the lawsuit alleges that FaZe takes 80% of Tfue's sponsorship earnings and has failed to pay him for certain deals.
There are a few other allegations in the lawsuit, including FaZe supposedly pressuring Tfue into moving to Hollywood, giving him alcohol before he turned 21, and pressuring him into gambling illegally.
Another area of the Tfue lawsuit touches on FaZe signing an underage player and pressuring him and his family into lying about his age.
Informed speculation is pointing to the recent signing of H1ghSky1 about a month ago. Redditors on the FortniteCompetitve subreddit theorized that he was younger than his listed age of 13. If the lawsuit is referring to him, it would put his true age at 11.
FaZe Clan Responds
FaZe Clan’s response to today’s press article regarding Tfue: pic.twitter.com/eVdRVMnRpl— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) May 20, 2019
FaZe Clan presented an official statement a few hours after the news broke. They addressed some areas of the Tfue contract, but hardly any of the allegations the lawsuit made about brand deals.
As you can see, FaZe Clan refers to their agreement with Tfue from a streaming and tournament earnings perspective. They never touched on the alleged 80% cut they get from brand deals - nor do they mention restricting Tfue from dealing with certain brands.
FaZe Banks has been among the most vocal on Twitter about the news, defending FaZe Clan from the allegations.
Sorry I'm done, I just had to tweet the actual numbers. Tfue makes millions and millions monthly and we have earned $60k from our relationship with him IN TOTAL. It's the most important part I need to be clear about.— FaZe Banks (@Banks) May 20, 2019
At the end of the day this is all about money. More and more and more money. Clearly Tfue felt he deserved millions of dollars in salary in the addition to all the millions he earns on his platforms. He was unhappy and this was his attempt at getting out of the contract.— FaZe Banks (@Banks) May 20, 2019
FaZe Banks put out a string of tweets on the issue and still appears to be talking about it now. He even posted an old video from Tfue's YouTube channel to address the underage drinking claim.
What was that about being pressured to drink underage? pic.twitter.com/8WHekdwSFY— FaZe Banks (@Banks) May 20, 2019
What does this mean for the industry?
This was a long time coming in esports. The industry has shown little to no respect to actual labor or fair competition laws. Faze getting the blame for what has become industry standard. Repeated to death, but all players should have an agent and a lawyer. https://t.co/0qfiwve5yT— Video Game Attorney (@Morrison) May 20, 2019
Based on the reaction from much of the industry, this lawsuit looks to have an effect on the entire esports industry - at least the organizations operating in California.
Many content creators and pro players alike have voiced their opinions on the usefulness of professional organizations, including big names like Ninja.
The general sentiment among players who have entered into these contracts is that organizations can be helpful when you're an unknown or growing your stream.
Unfortunately, a lot of players outgrow their organizations in terms of popularity. When this happens, the org gets far more benefits than a player does. All else aside, this is clearly what has happened with FaZe Clan and Tfue.
This is an ongoing story and there's still a lot to cover. We'll update you with any developments in the story, so follow us on Twitter @FortniteTracker.