Streamer Tfue sues esports organization for illegal operation as a talent agency
Turner Tenney claims Faze Clan did not act in his best interests, withheld 80% of his earnings from streaming
21-year-old streamer and esports personality Turner 'Tfue' Tenney has sued his esports organization Faze Clan, claiming its contract with him is illegal and void, and that the organization is violating California's Talent Agency Act by operating as an unlicensed talent agency.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter (which obtained a copy of the complaint), Tenney claims he signed a "Gamer Agreement" with Faze Clan in April of 2018 that dictates he can only receive 20% of the revenue from any branded videos he's in that appear on social media, as well as half the revenue from touring and other in-person appearances.
Since then, Tenney says he has lost a number of opportunities (including one specifically mentioned with HyperX), as Faze Clan dictated the deals (such as sponsorships) he was allowed to make, including violating some that would have been in his best interest.
In response, Tenney claims that he attempted to end his contract last year by claiming Faze Clan was in violation, but Faze insisted he was still bound by the contract. In his suit, Tenney requests that the court declare the contract void, and is also seeking repayment of what he is owed as well as damages.
In addition, a petition to determine controversy submitted to the labor commissioner notes a number of other complaints about the lifestyle Faze Clan is said to have imposed on its members. Tenney claims that upon being brought to live with other streamers at the Faze Clan home in Hollywood Hills, he was both encouraged to drink and to gamble before he was legally of age. He also says he was pressured into performing dangerous stunts during various videos, including one where he injured his arm, resulting in a 'permanent disfigurement.'
The suit also claims Faze Clan has signed an 11-year-old, and has pressured them to lie about their age.
"Tfue and my law firm are sending a message," Tenney's Attorney Bryan Freedman of Freedman + Taitelman said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "The time is now for content creators, gamers and streamers to stop being taken advantage of through oppressive, unfair and illegal agreements. 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."
In response to the suit, Faze Clan has issued the following statement:
We're shocked and disappointed to see the news of Tfue's press article and lawsuit. Over the course of our partnership with him, which began in April 2018, FaZe Clan has collected:
- $0 - Tournament Winnings
- $0 - Twitch Revenue
- $0 - YouTube Revenue
- $0 - from any social platform
In fact, we have only 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% to FaZe Clan in both tournament winnings as well as content revenue, with 80% to the player. In Turner's case, neither of those have been collected by FaZe Clan.
We're proud of what we've accomplished together of the past year with Turner and will continue to support him.
In addition, team owner Ricky Banks published a series of tweets similarly defending the team.
"The first thing I'd like to say is we do NOT and have never taken 80% of anyone's prize money," he writes. "Not sure where that came from, but a contract like that has NEVER existed. We've collected $0 from Turner's prize money. ZERO.
"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.
"To clarify Turner's contract does outline splits in prizes, ad revenue, stuff like that. But again we've collected absolutely none of it with no plans to and that was very clear to him. We have collected a total of $60,000 from 300k in brand deals (20%). That's it."