Steven R. June 17, 2019
Turner “Tfue” Tenney’s legal team is pushing back against some of FaZe Clan’s key talking points regarding the Fortnite player’s contract status.
Tfue’s attorney Bryan J. Freedman sat down for a lengthy interview with The Score Esports. Among the topics of conversation were direct rebuttals to claims from FaZe Clan that he had refused to negotiate on a new contract and wasn’t an important financial part of FaZe.
“First of all, why are we sitting around believing that they only took $60,000?” Freedman asked.
“How you could rely on their $60,000 figure as to what they made off him, it’s disingenuous. Do you realize how much money FaZe Clan is making by having Turner as part of its team? How much advertising they’re selling? How many sponsorships they obtained because Turner is part of their team. It’s almost laughable to think that they are saying they took $60,000 away from him and that’s it.”
In May, Tfue filed a lawsuit against FaZe claiming their contract was exploitative and illegal. The lawsuit quickly became national news, highlighting problematic business practices in the esports industry and some of the questionable business models used by esports organizations.
The diatribe is a response to arguments put forward by FaZe Clan executives Lee Trink and Richard Bengtson, who fought against public backlash of the initial news of the lawsuit. In a series of social media posts, Bengtson claimed that the organization had only made $60,000 from Tfue’s presence on the team.
Later, Trink stated that Tfue had no real interest renegotiating his contract and was instead looking to break off and start his own competing esports team after learning industry practices from FaZe. Tfue later denied these claims.
In reality, the case with Tfue largely revolved around sponsorships. According to Tfue’s legal team, the streamer and Fortnite esports star was taking a financial hit by not being able to seek out his own sponsors while FaZe scored lucrative partnerships in part by leveraging his presence on the team. Freedman harped on that fact and specifically pointed to FaZe’s relationship with auto manufacturer Nissan as something that was made possible through the popularity of Tfue and other FaZe Clan players.
Additionally, Freedman stated that Tfue had repeatedly tried to strike a new deal with FaZe. Freedman claims that the two sides traded revised contracts back and forth, but FaZe insisted on keeping allegedly illegal provisions.
Judging from Freedman’s rhetoric, there is no end to the Tfue vs. FaZe legal battle in sight. He stated that the California courts and labor boards would inevitably issue rulings in Tfue’s favor, but challenged FaZe to search their conscience and change how they run their business
With FaZe unlikely to upend their entire business model, it feels almost impossible that the two sides will have an amicable reunion.