Pro Fortnite player sues gaming organization over 'oppressive' contract

Turner Tenney, known professionally as Tfue, alleges the esports team is limiting his business opportunities.

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2 min read

Pr Fortnite player Turner Tenney, aka Tfue.

Turner Tenney via Instagram

A top Fortnite player is suing his gaming organization for allegedly restricting his business opportunities with an "oppressive, onerous and one-sided" contract.

Turner Tenney, a 21-year-old professional gamer known as Tfue, has filed a lawsuit against esports team Faze Clan for allegedly limiting his ability to pursue his profession in violation of California law and the Talent Agency Act. The lawsuit also alleges that Faze Clan has failed to pay him his share of his sponsorship earnings and taken up to 80% of his earnings as a "finder's fee."

"In no uncertain terms, these gamers are artists, entertainers and content creators -- they perform, they act, they direct, they edit and they stream," Turner's lawyers wrote in the complaint, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

"Because the industry is so new, there is little to no oversight," according to the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "As a result, these young content creator/streamers are susceptible to being taken advantage of and exploited -- often by those that are supposed to be looking out for their best interests."

Los Angeles-based Faze Clan didn't respond to a request for comment but said in a tweet Monday afternoon it was "shocked and dismayed" by the lawsuit.

"In fact, we've collected a total of only $60,000 from our partnership, while Tfue has earned millions as a member of the Faze Clan," the company said. "We're proud of what we've accomplished together over the past year with Turner and will continue to support him.

Fortnite, one of the biggest free-to-play games on consoles ever, took 2018 by storm. The game became a cultural phenomenon, and raked in $3 billion for developer Epic Games across all platforms last year. 

Professional players are also getting a piece of that pie. Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, told CNN in January that he earned nearly $10 million in 2018 playing Fortnite: Battle Royale. Blevins has more than 12.5 million followers on game streaming service Twitch and more than 20 million subscribers on streaming giant YouTube.

"Faze Clan uses its illegal Gamer Contracts to limit Tenney to deals sourced exclusively by Faze Clan and to prevent Tenney from exploring deals presented by others; deals that are potentially superior to deals procured by Faze Clan; and deals that are not saddled with an eighty percent (80%) finder's fee," the complaint says.

Tenney tried to terminate his contract with Faze Clan in September based on the organization's numerous breaches of contract, but Faze Clan disputes that the agreement was terminated and contends that Tenney still owes it contractual obligations, the complaint says.

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