According to Tfue, FaZe limited his ability to pursue his profession in violation of California law, forced him to pass on an advantageous brand deal, and failed to pay him his share of sponsorship earnings. His attorney, Bryan Freedman, says the organization “pressured him to live in one of its homes in the Hollywood Hills with other young YouTubers, where he says he was given alcohol before turning 21 and encouraged to illegally gamble.”
Freedman adds that “FaZe Clan also continuously pressured and encouraged Tenney and others to undertake dangerous stunts while performing in videos. During one video, Tenney suffered an injury to his arm while skateboarding which resulted in permanent disfigurement.”
Tfue is one of the most prominent players in the Fortnite scene. Over the past month, his Twitch stream averaged 54,821 concurrent viewers with a peak viewership of 234,716. Moreover, Tfue holds several first-place finishes at events like the Fortnite Fall Skirmish. His total earnings are estimated to be around $447,775.
FaZe Clan is also a big name in esports. Founded in May 2010, this organization fields professional teams in Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and other competitive titles. On top of that, FaZe have a huge social media presence with over 3.7 million followers on Twitter and almost 6.5 million subscribers on YouTube.
The social media angle is one of the more interesting aspects of this conflict. Because of the public nature of FaZe Clan’s business, many of Tfue’s accusations are recorded on social media. For instance, there is a video of Tfue’s skateboard accident on FaZe Clan’s own YouTube channel. (This is likely the incident to which his attorney was referring.) To make matters worse, the owner of the esports organizations, Ricky Banks (otherwise known as FaZe Banks), inadvertently admitted he was aware of underage drinking taking place at one of his houses.
Granted, it was later confirmed the team only took 80 percent off branded video/streaming deals. Thus, Tfue got to keep all of his tournament winnings and stream revenue. But considering the other allegations made against FaZe Clan, the organization might have bigger things to worry about than Tfue’s sponsorship deals.
Whatever the hard truth, this case will almost certainly leave its mark in the global esports landscape. The skewed power dynamic between players and gaming organizations has been the topic of heated debate for several decades. And the conflict between Tfue and FaZe Clan will undoubtedly be an important part of this conversation.
Image courtesy of FaZe Clan.