According to the The Hollywood Reporter, E-Sports superstar, Turner “Tfue” Tenney has been in a legal battle with his former gaming organization, FaZe Clan since he sued the organization in May on the claim of an “oppressive contract.”
With the staggering rise of electronic gaming, anf the market therewithit, its no surprise someone with as much influebce as Tfue, (boasting over 10 Million Youtube Subscribers, and 5.5 Million followers on Instagram) would want a larger cut of potential money, especially after seeing other gamers like Ninja earn more than 10 Million in 2018 backed by sponsorships from Samsung and Red Bull. Tfue’s claim is simple, he fels that his contract, which only allows him to collect 20% of revenue from any branded videos published on social media, and 50% from his tours and appearances, is “oppressive, onerous, and one sided.”
FaZe filed a countersuit action in New York State on a breach of contract claim, stating;
“In breach of the Gamer Agreement, Tenney has: filed lawsuits in the improper forum of California, after Tenney agreed in the Gamer Agreement that litigation would occur exclusively in New York; disparaged FaZe Clan; stolen FaZe Clan’s confidential information; interfered with FaZe Clan’s contracts and business relationships; and he is advocating for others to leave and compete against FaZe ClanAttorney Justin Kattan, in Countersuit Claim against Tfue
Faze Clan believes Tfue has been less than honest with his payments to FaZe, claiming FaZe has only seen $600k of the $20 million dollars he has earned since joining the gaming conglomerate. In response, Tfue’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman believes that the move to New York is a means of forum shopping, and an admission that FaZe has no defenses to the violations Tfue is claiming under California Law.
Now, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff has denied the countersuit action under the Colorado River abstention doctrine, which essentially gives the corut power to decline a case under exceptional circumstances if it means conserving judicial resources, stating the filing in New York, “appears to be an obvious attempt by defendant to avoid a binding and enforceable forum selection clause.”
There’s no real end in sight for this litigation, but the process to this point has been undoubtedly bizarre, and could potentially open the door for more actions like this if e-sports continues to evolve and expand as it has been in the past.