While acknowledging Turner “Tfue” Tenney’s original contract with FaZe Clan was “horrible,” co-owner Ricky “Banks” Banks called the Fortnite professional “selfish” in an expletive-laced Twitter rant after learning that Tfue has designs on starting his own organization.
Tfue is suing FaZe for allegedly limiting his ability to pursue his profession in violation of California law. The 21-year-old alleges he is missing out on lucrative opportunities because of what he considers to be FaZe’s illegal activity in connection with a contract he signed in April 2018.
Tfue gets to keep only 20 percent of the revenue from any branded videos that are published on Twitch, YouTube or social media, and half of his revenue from touring and appearances. He claimed in a video that his lawsuit is driven by the desire to prevent other young esports professionals from being similarly taken advantage of.
However, after Tenney’s contract reportedly was leaked, YouTuber Daniel “KEEMSTAR” Keem shared a private message from Tfue’s brother, Jack “Joogsquad” Tenney. In part, the message read: “Turner wants to create his own org, work with the brands he wants, and overall be free to change the face of gaming forever. Faze refused to allow him to do this.
“Turner creating his own org is in his best interest. Emotions and friendship aside, the corporate side of faze wouldn’t let that happen. Turner had no choice, this was his only option to get out of his contract to make his plans and dreams a reality.”
That led to Banks taking to social media in a series of posts Thursday morning.
“Wow Jack, you really blew it this time,” Banks tweeted. “Turner wants to make his own org? So this whole superhero, for the people, by the people narrative makes a little more sense now. Convenient. Why wasn’t this apart of his original press release then? Why is this all about the poor kids now?
“‘ll tell you why. Because all Turners b——- statement amounted to was more scripted, manipulative, legal tactics. That’s why. Let’s make this about the community, win the communities opinion and sign a bunch of players. In the name of fair contracts.”
Banks went on to acknowledge that Tfue’s initial contract was “horrible,” but that the organization had offered him “many” new ones over the past year that included no percentage splits and that FaZe has collected only $60,000 from $300,000 in brand deals brought to Tfue.
“Turner isn’t some martyr for the greater good, he’s a selfish a—— who doesn’t give a f— about anyone but himself,” Banks tweeted. “Like seriously homie? You’re down the street from me. Let’s talk.”
Banks said that he has nothing to hide and that FaZe will release every contract offered to Tfue.
“I’ve made the mistake of allowing s— people to run my business,” he tweeted. “We’ve solved those issues & are trying our best. The contract was trash. There’s no denying that.
“@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.”
Tfue has been one of the best-known professional gamers on Fortnite. His Twitch streams have been viewed more than 120 million times, and he has 10.7 million YouTube subscribers and 5.5 million Instagram followers, although he began to lose some followers after news of the lawsuit broke Monday.
The complaint argues that esports players’ representatives should be regulated the way agents of film and TV stars are. Tfue alleges he had to pass on a lucrative brand deal because of a conflict of interest and that FaZe failed to pay him his share of sponsorship earnings.
“In no uncertain terms, these gamers are artists, entertainers and content creators — they perform, they act, they direct, they edit and they stream,”said attorney Bryan Freedman of Freedman + Taitelman, a Los Angeles law firm, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“That Gamer Agreement is grossly oppressive, onerous, and one-sided. 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.”
The lawsuit clams FaZe — a United States-based group that is among the top professional esports organizations in the world — is in violation of California’s Talent Agency Act.
The state law requires that any person or company “who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist” must be licensed by the labor commissioner and conform to professional regulations. By definition, “artist” includes “persons rendering professional services in motion picture, theatrical, radio, television and other entertainment enterprises.”
Wrote Banks: “We will release all the contracts we’ve since offered Tfue to try and make this right. Stay tuned for that. Trust me, nobody on this planet wanted him to sign a new healthy contract more than I did. Cause then at least we’d still have Turner in FaZe. And we’d still be homies.”
–Field Level Media