FaZe Clan fires back at Tfue, says he refused to make a new deal
Steven R. May 24, 2019
FaZe Clan is starting its counter-offensive against Turner “Tfue” Tenney.
The organization has mobilized across social media to push back against Tfue’s claims of an exploitative contract. In a two-pronged attack, FaZe CEO Lee Trink spoke with DramaAlert on YouTube and made strong claims against Tfue and his family, while the organization also discussed some of the contentious issues that have arisen regarding its relationship with the streamer and Fortnite esports star.
"What’s clear now, and you’ve heard about this, he was actually never interested in creating a new deal," Trink said. "What he was interested in was creating a competing org, and that's impossible. We're never going to get there. The Lakers don't let LeBron go create a competing NBA team. It's just not what we do."
The interview with DramaAlert was inflammatory on multiple fronts. In addition to claiming Tfue was looking to form his own team, Trink speculated that Tfue’s father was attempting to live vicariously through his son after meeting him during a round of contract negotiations. He also stated that Tfue was essentially spying on FaZe during his time with the team, particularly looking to learn details on how to run an organization from FaZe founder Richard “Banks” Bengtson.
DramaAlert is not a legitimate news outlet and has been involved in a number of controversies during its existence. Host Daniel Keem has been forced to issue apologies for false allegations of pedophilia against streamers and for mocking John “TotalBiscuit” Bain’s terminal cancer, and has had his YouTube channels shut down on multiple occasions.
Despite this, FaZe maintains close professional and financial ties with Keem, most recently funding the return of Keem's Friday Night Fortnite. He seemingly repaid this by not challenging any of Trink’s claims during an interview.
Most of these claims were reiterated in a video on the FaZe Clan YouTube channel, with the team outlining its attempts to restructure Tfue’s contract. The video claims Tfue had refused all offers as part of a larger effort to break off from the organization.
Regardless, this is is an interesting take from what has to this point been a one-sided controversy.
Earlier this week, Tfue initiated legal action against FaZe in an effort to terminate his contract with the organization. Tfue’s team alleges that FaZe and other esports organizations deal in predatory contracts shopped to young talents with clauses that include unfair terms including forced exclusive sponsorships and exploitative revenue splits with organizations shaving up to 80 percent off the top of income. FaZe has acknowledged that Tfue’s contracts do favor the organization in this way, but have stated they have not exercised their ability to do so with Tfue or any other player. Several past and present FaZe esports players have defended the team’s practices.
Tfue pressed this by calling for FaZe to make his contract public, something which FaZe has refused to do to this point.
Though FaZe has focused in on alleged efforts by Tfue to start his own rival organization and Tfue is presenting his case as a push against exploitative contracts in esports, the court filing largely revolves around sponsorships. Tfue’s contract prohibits him from obtaining his own sponsorships separate from the organization, blocking a potentially large stream of revenue for him.
Legal battles like this can potentially take years to be settled and with both sides digging in on their respective positions, it doesn’t seem like this will be done any time soon.