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The 21-year-old esports athlete Turner Tenney, better known by his professional gaming tag Tfue, is suing his gaming organization Faze Clan for allegedly illegal contract details. Tenney claims that Faze Clan is violating both California law and the Talent Agency Act, with Tenney’s attorney calling the contract “grossly oppressive.”
Tenney is taking Faze Clan to court over allegedly limiting his ability to pursue his profession and for multiple violations of California law. Faze Clan allegedly claims eighty percent of Tenney’s earnings. Tenney’s lawyer Bryan Freedman called Faze Clan’s gamer contracts illegal, saying that Faze Clan used the contracts to prevent Tenney from exploring deals that were potentially far better for him than the ones Faze Clan was offering.
This past September, Tenney attempted to end his deal with Faze Clan. Faze Clan rejected his termination and claimed he was still under their contract. Tenney is seeking a formal court declaration that the contract is terminated, as well as fair payments for the work he has done.
The allegations don’t stop there, and it seems like contractual problems may turn out to be the least of Faze Clan’s worries. Freedman claimed that Faze Clan takes young artists and “jeopardizes their health, safety, and welfare.” This statement followed Tenney saying that Faze Clan pressured him into living in a communal home with other YouTubers where he was given alcohol while underage and encouraged to gamble illegally. Tenney also claims that Faze Clan signed on an 11-year-old gamer and pressured the minor and his family to lie about his age.
The crux of the lawsuit states that Faze Clan violated the Talent Agency Act. The act states that any agency who procures offers of employment or engagement for artists must be licensed and conform to professional regulations. The term “artist” does include a broad range of entertainment enterprises, meaning one could argue that professional gamers garner the protection the act provides.
Tenney and Freedman hope this will bring attention to streamers and content creators being taken advantage of, and the lawsuit will be a “wake-up call” that such contracts and behaviors won’t be tolerated going forward.