Turner “Tfue” Tenney, is suing FaZe Clan, alleging numerous violations of California law, the Talent Agency Act, as per a report from The Hollywood Reporter today.
Tfue, a pro in both Fortnite and Apex Legends, filed the suit earlier today. The chief complaint being that the representatives of esports players, such as FaZe, need to be regulated much like the agents of film and TV stars.
Tfue alleges that FaZe takes up to 80 percent of his earnings from Twitch, YouTube, and social media. Under his current contract, the battle royale player keeps only 20 percent of the revenue from his content, including any money from sponsors. He’s unable to explore other deals, which may have more favorable margins.
His representative Bryan Freedman of Freedman + Taitelman also suggests that FaZe is violating the Talent Agency Act (TAA), a California law which requires anyone creating opportunities for an “artist” to be licensed by the labor commissioner and conform to professional regulations.
Furthermore, Barry Lee, a senior talent agent at Evolved Talent suggests that this is also a violation of the Miller Ayala Athlete Act, which states that employers can’t legally act as a talent representative for their employees.
In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Freedman asserted that “Tfue and my law firm are sending a message. The time is now for content creators, gamers, and streamers to stop being taken advantage of through oppressive, unfair, and illegal agreements.”
But Tfue and Freedman may find tackling proceedings more complicated than they expect. The TAA, in particular, is a controversial part of California employment law and has been challenged numerous times for its broad definition of what a talent agency is, and has even been called unconstitutional.
The law covers anyone “who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist,” with an artist defined as “persons rendering professional services in motion picture, theatrical, radio, television, and other entertainment enterprises.” While this definitely covers FaZe and their relationship with Tfue, it could reasonably cover all kinds of employment agencies and workers, in many industries.
At the time of writing, FaZe had not yet made an official response to the suit. But some suggest that this is just the beginning of a change that was a long time coming.