Tfue uses #ReleaseTheContract to goad FaZe Clan to show contract
Steven R. May 23, 2019
After a tumultuous two days, Turner “Tfue” Tenney made an impassioned plea to FaZe Clan.
The Fortnite esports star and popular streamer released a short video on his YouTube channel asking FaZe to make his contract public. He also repackaged his arguments against FaZe, and split from some of the claims made in the court filings.
The video starts with Tfue retracting his lawyer’s claims that he had been pressured into drinking while underage, gambling, and taking part in dangerous stunts by other members of FaZe. More notably, he repackaged his arguments against FaZe as the beginning of a larger push against exploitative contracts in esports. Though the arguments made by his legal team largely revolve around Tfue’s inability to seek out sponsors that conflict with FaZe’s partners, Tfue indicated he is pushing back against systemic problems in the industry.
“What I’m trying to do here is serve justice to the esports community and esports industry. These kids are getting ripped off, they’re getting taken advantage of,” Tfue said. “These contracts are not okay, and this needs to never happen again.”
The call to publicly release his contract quickly caught fire, with #ReleaseTheContract surging up the worldwide trends on Twitter.
Tfue revealed that his deal with FaZe runs for three years. He first joined the organization in April 2018, and quickly established himself as a bona fide talent by performing well at a number of Fortnite tournaments, most notably winning the Fall Skirmish in 2018. Alongside that competitive success, he has become one of the top streamers on Twitch.
Earlier this week, news broke that Tfue had taken legal action to end his business relationship with FaZe Clan. The claims from Tfue’s legal team included an exploitative gamer contract that allowed FaZe to take up to an 80-percent cut of various revenue streams while prohibiting Tfue from seeking his own sponsorship opportunities. FaZe countered with a statement that acknowledged that those clauses are in place in the contract, but that the company has since altered them and has never exercised those abilities with Tfue.
Though the organization has approached the situation professionally, Richard “Banks” Bengtson has not. The partial owner of FaZe Clan began a prolonged rant across multiple social media channels after the news went public, initially discussing his feelings of betrayal and then claiming Tfue was motivated by greed. He declared FaZe would release Tfue’s contract shortly after the video was posted, but to this point the contract has not been made public.
Though the Tfue versus FaZe situation has largely been looked at as a melodrama, the case carries huge ramifications for the entire esports industry. Organizations like FaZe rely upon streamers and influencers to serve as a vehicle for sponsors, an approach that some esports lawyers contend is illegal. Should the practice be openly challenged in court, it could completely alter the business model of many established esports brands.