A response to Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney’s original lawsuit
Popular e-sports organization Faze Clan is suing professional Fortnite player Turner “Tfue” Tenney, claiming he’s violated his contract by disparaging the company and trying to form a rival e-sports organization. It’s a countersuit to Tenney’s attempt to leave the organization back in May over concerns his contract was exploitative.
Faze is now saying Tenney made more than $20 million from streaming, gaming endorsements, and sponsorships, and that he “shared almost none of this income with Faze Clan.” The company is seeking compensation from Tenney for its services and unspecified damages under the terms of the contract. Faze is also seeking injunctive relief to prevent him from revealing any supposedly confidential information, disparaging the company publicly, and potentially interfering with its current roster of talent or any future business deals.
The original lawsuit filed by Tenney’s lawyers claimed Faze failed to pay Tenney his share of brand deal revenue that he was owed and that the organization grossly undercut his earnings. The lawsuit claimed Faze had the right to take up to 80 percent of his earnings in some situations, although the organization claimed it had never done so when the suit became public. Tenney’s lawyers argue that Faze Clan took financial advantage of him by way of an exploitative contract and unlawful behavior.
The countersuit now claims Tenney’s actions have caused “serious damage and stands to do more” that could affect members of Faze Clan’s team. Faze Clan’s countersuit also claims that Tenney’s goal is to set up a rival e-sports company, alleging that “Tenney is taking the valuable information he learned from Faze Clan, which he is obligated to keep secret, and using it to create a rival to Faze Clan or otherwise support rival gamers and gaming organizations.”
Concerns about Faze Clan’s roster sprung up in the weeks following Tenney’s lawsuit. Tenney’s gaming partner and roommate, Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore, is now in the process of leaving the organization, too. Even though Lepore told fans on Twitter that Tenney’s lawsuit and departure was “not the case what so ever” for his own leaving, it did lead to speculation within the community that Tenney’s actions influenced Lepore’s.
Tenney first signed a contract with Faze in April 2018. The contract specifically stated that Faze gets 80 percent of all revenue that Tenney makes through sponsored videos on Twitch and YouTube. Tenney has become one of Twitch’s most popular and subscribed-to streamers, and he boasts more than 10 million subscribers. Faze’s countersuit claims, however, that Tenney experienced a boost in popularity that helped him earn millions of dollars and that Faze is a large part of the reason why he became successful.
“Faze Clan taught Tenney how to be more than just a skilled gamer,” the countersuit reads. “Faze Clan taught him to be a professional. It schooled Tenney in the business, social media and gaming practices that have made Faze Clan successful. And he certainly has been successful. It is understood that Tenney has earned over $20 million since joining Faze Clan in April 2018, when he was earning virtually nothing.”
The language is similar to Faze Clan’s original statement regarding Tenney’s lawsuit in May. The e-sports collective claimed it “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 — including Tfue’s — have a maximum of 20 percent to Faze Clan in both tournament winnings as well as content revenue, with 80% to the player,” the statement reads. “In Turner’s case, neither of those have been collected by Faze Clan.”
There are other issues that are brought up in the lawsuit. Faze Clan’s argues that Tenney breached his contract and disparaged Faze Clan over the course of the lawsuit. The organization also claims that Tenney directly leaked confidential information about his contract to media publications, violating their terms. The full lawsuit can be read below.
Update (August 1st, 6:40pm ET): Tenney’s lawyer issued a lengthy statement toThe Hollywood Reporter about Faze Clan’s lawsuit. It can be read in full below.
Faze Clan’s lawsuit in New York is a ridiculous and obvious attempt to avoid the consequences of its clear violations of California law. Filing the lawsuit in New York is actually an admission that Faze Clan has no defense to these violations of California law. Ask yourself, why is Faze Clan is afraid to litigate its wrongful conduct in California? The answer is obvious. Faze Clan will lose. In the New York lawsuit, Faze Clan actually admits to violating California’s Talent Agencies Act by procuring employment without a license. Equally egregious is the fact that Faze Clan is suing Turner under its illegal contract for the monies it publicly represented that it was not collecting. This is the first time in the history of Esports that an Organization has had the audacity to try and enforce contractual provisions that are so clearly illegal against one its gamers.