When journalists decide to write about controversial subjects that can directly affect the lives of those they write, they take on a great responsibility. Balancing what is newsworthy versus what affect one can have upon a person is never an easy task. When I learned that FaZe Clan Fortnite kid wonder Patrick “H1ghsky1” was actually 11-years old at the time of signing to FaZe, I had to decide if this story needed to be written, and why. In this case, the answers were easy. Yes, because it matters what we are teaching our children.
Patrick took to YouTube yesterday, using his brother’s account with his mother in full view and apologized for lying about his age. Here is what he said, appearing to be reading a prepared statement.
“I’m back. My Twitch account was suspended due to me being underage, and yes, I am 12. I only lied so that I could fulfill my dream of being, like, a streamer. It’s been my dream for a long time, and I worked for a year and a half for it. And I am sorry that I lied…I am sorry I had to lie. I was too young and it held me back and I just couldn’t wait two more years. Holy cow, I finally got it off my chest.”
The child, who, in my view, carries the least amount of culpability in this entire situation, was the one made to apologize. FaZe Clan has been silent. His parents have been silent. Yet Patrick stood up like an adult and did what the others won’t—take responsibility.
There is very little doubt that the management of FaZe knew Patrick was 11-years old at the time he signed with FaZe. The evidence is there. From members of Faze letting slip on stream that Patrick was 11, to the lawsuit filed by Turner “TFUE” Tenney that clearly states everyone knew but were made to cover it up and lie, management knew, yet they chose to use Patrick instead of play by the rules.
Patrick is an extraordinary and talented player with an entertainment charisma that attracts an audience. He is skilled way beyond his age. What 11-year old in the world would have the willpower to say no to this situation? However, this doesn’t mean he should be able to bypass rules and regulations that have been put in place to safeguard people exactly like him. These rules, guidelines, and laws have been legislated to prohibit children from being exploited at a young age and used by a business for notoriety and money. Because, let’s be perfectly clear here, this was a business deal.
His talent level is not an excuse to break the rules. That argument is being made by ignorant people that don’t understand what could happen to young children with talent if something goes sideways. The effects can be disastrous on a child. The fact that there are some that think because someone is talented, they should be able to break the rules is perpetrating an elitist society. Think about it. That flies in the face of creating a society of fairness and equality.
But where are the people that allowed this all to happen? Where are the adults in the room with an ethical and moral compass that is above reproach? Where were those people saying this is wrong? What has Patrick been taught during this entire ordeal? Think about the ramifications of teaching people that, once again, it’s okay to break the rules if you are good at something, all the while teaching people to lie and cover up the truth. Somebody should have spoken up. Whether that be his parents, FaZe Clan members, or others, Patrick is the victim here. They have failed him as teachers and mentors. They taught him how to lie and deceive and that it is okay to do such things. Everyone involved should be ashamed.
The reality here is that some members of FaZe Clan have been negligent during this entire affair. Nobody cares if they want to do stupid stunts, drink, party and have a great time. More power to them. Nothing wrong with that. However, the moment you bring in an 11-year old child and teach him to lie and let him believe that’s okay? That’s where you crossed the line. Where is your place in all of this FaZe? When will you take to the pulpit and apologize, showing the world you can do the right thing? When will you be a proper role model for Patrick? Time will tell.
Lastly, Patrick’s parents are the ones that bear the major brunt of responsibility for what happened here. Clearly, they had knowledge of Patrick’s age and what age was being reported when he initially signed with FaZe. His age was always a topic of discussion and his parents had the opportunity to come forward and protect their child.
Patrick is the victim here and his business partners and family failed him miserably.