There’s no doubt the biggest news last week was that FaZe Clan professional and Fortnite ace Turner “Tfue” Tunney decided to sue his team over his contract.
We brought you details of that news story last week as well as a follow-up article on the fallout for Tfue and the wider esports community.
In the second article last week, we said that once the terms of Tfue’s contract were known, it would be much easier for the esports community to make a judgment on whether the complainant had a case here. Well, now we know.
The leaked contract
Sensationally, an unknown third-party has leaked details of Tfue’s contract to theblast.com. And rather than them, FaZe Clan owner Ricky Banks has responded by confirming that the contract was indeed the real one and that it was “trash.”
Banks has now tried to reach out to Tfue and his legal team to set up a meeting. They don’t want the courts involved, it appears. Banks also took to Twitter:
“Listen, obviously Turner’s initial contract was horrible. Nobody ever disagreed with that. But over the last year we have offered him so many new ones, solutions. 0% splits Honest and MORE THAN FAIR ways to solve the issue.”
“This was never about money. We never expected this to happen and over the last year have only collected $60k from $300k in brand deals WE BROUGHT HIM. (20%) That’s the absolute total. This wasn’t about money, ever. Or an unfair contract.
“With all that being said, we had every intention of releasing the contract. I have nothing to hide and I’ve made the mistake of allowing shit people to run my business. We’ve solves those issues & are trying our test. The contract was trash. There’s no denying that.”
Speaking directly to Tfue, Banks then went on in a slightyl more conciliatory tone.
“Listen you f**k [Tfue], 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.”
So what is in this contract!?
The contract was signed on April 27, 2018, and one of the first sticking points comes with the fact that Tfue is locked into the contract for three additional years following his initial six-month period under the contract.
In terms of salary, Tfue would receive a basic salary of $2,000 a month as a fixed fee, but added to that was the caveat that he could earn “other income (including, but not limited to, salaries, earnings, fees, royalties, bonuses, share or profits and gifts etc) generated in connection with Gamer’s Services (whether individually or as part of the Team).”
The way this cash would be distributed between Tfue and his team was the main sticking point. This is roughly how that shook out:
- Brand Deals brought in by FaZe Clan – 20% to Tfue, 80% to FaZe Clan
- In game sticker/merchandise (creator code income) – 50/50
- Brand deals brought in by gamer – 50/50
- Appearance Fees – 50/50
- Prize money from tournaments – 80% to Tfue, 20% to FaZe Clan
While it may seem to the untrained eye that keeping 80% of his tournament prize money seems a good deal for Tfue, in actual fact, the vast majority of Tfue’s compensation came from creator code income and brand deals.
On both these scores, Tfue’s contract seems unduly punitive. He kept just 50% of his creator code income. And he received just 20% of brand deals. An expert at theblast.com estimated Tfue’s creator code income is already “pushing 10 million dollars a year.”
Furthermore, FaZe Clan could collect on their percentage earnings from Tfue at any point in time. They have inserted a clause which states that if Tfue is offered a contract by another gaming company, FaZe must be aware of the deal, the offerer, and to make a counteroffer. Tfue’s advisors feel that’s unfair.
There’s also this: if Tfue was to be fired from his contract, then he could not walk onto another team as there is another clause that prevents him from playing professionally for another team for six months after termination.
Tfue’s attorney, Bryan J.Freedman has called this “the most unfair contract I have ever seen in almost 30 years of practicing law.”
The next step?
It remains to be seen whether the offer of talks between Tfue’s team and Banks will provide any solution. Who knows. Those talks may not even happen.
At the moment, a date in court looks the most likely outcome. And the fallout from the case could well radiate through the esports industry for many, many years to come.