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Tfue Suing FaZe Clan Over “Oppressive” Contract

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  • Popular gamer Turner “Tfue” Tenney filed a lawsuit against the gaming organization that he is a part of known as FaZe Clan.
  • Tenney’s lawsuit alleges that his “Gamer Agreement” with FaZe Clan is “oppressive,” and claims that his contract allows the organization to take up to 80 percent of his revenue from brand deals.
  • FaZe Clan has denied the accusation and the organization’s founder, FaZe Banks, posted a video and a series of tweets providing his side of the story and portraying the lawsuit as a betrayal.

Lawsuit

Popular gamer Turner “Tfue” Tenney filed a lawsuit Monday against FaZe Clan, the gaming organization he’s been a part of since April of 2018.

The lawsuit describes Tenney’s “gamer agreement” with FaZe Clan as “oppressive.” It claims that it allows the organization to take up to 80 percent of his earnings from brand deals brought by FaZe Clan and 5 percent of his earnings from tours and public appearances.

According to the lawsuit, Tenney tried to end his official agreement with the FaZe Clan back in September based on the organization’s “numerous breaches” of contract but says they would not let him break the deal.

One of those breaches included FaZe Clan receiving third-party payments from sponsorships and not giving the payments from those deals to Tenney.

The lawsuit goes on to say that FaZe Clan uses “illegal Gamer Contracts” to prevent Tenney from pursuing other brand deals that might be better than the deals acquired by FaZe Clan, and argues that it is illegal because it prevents him from competing in the marketplace.

Significantly, the suit claims that FaZe Clan’s gamer agreements violate California’s Talent Agency Act because the organization acts like a talent agency by procuring “employment and engagements,” but does not have a business license to operate as an agency

Due to this alleged violation, Tenney’s lawyers have also claimed that FaZe Clan violated the Talent Agency Act in a petition to the California Labor Commissioner on May 15.  

“Faze Clan pressures and encourages young artists like Tenney to perform dangerous stunts,” Tenney’s attorneys wrote in the petition, which was included as an exhibit in the lawsuit. The suit also noted that Tenney suffered an injury that resulted in “permanent disfigurement.”

“Faze Clan also encourages underage drinking and gambling in Faze Clan’s so-called “Clout House” and “FaZe House.” The petition said.

FaZe Clan Statement

The gaming community responded to the lawsuit almost immediately.

FaZe Banks, who owns FaZe Clan, took to Twitter to defend the group writing “we do NOT and have never taken 80% of anyones prize money,” adding “We’ve collected $0 from Turners prize money. ZERO.”

FaZe Clan also posted a statement on Twitter claiming that they have not collected any of Tenney’s tournament winnings or any money earned through his Twitch, YouTube, or other social media accounts.

“In fact, we have only collected a total of $60,000 from our partnership, while Tfue has earned millions as a member of FaZe Clan,” the statement said.

While all our contracts are different with each player, all of them – including TFue’s – have a maximum of 20% to FaZe Clan in both tournament winnings as well as content revenue, with 80% to the player. In Turner’s case, neither of those have been collected by FaZe Clan.”

A few hours later, FaZe Clan posted a follow-up statement to clarify the claim that they take 80% of branding earnings. “There is a clause in Tfue’s original contract where FaZe Clan could take 80% of the brand deal we introduce to him,” FaZe Clan wrote. “Let us be clear that we have NEVER collected on that clause from Tfue or any other FaZe Clan member.”

The statement went on to say that the clause is from old contracts and that the new contracts only give FaZe Clan 20 percent. The organization also says that they have been working with Tenney and have offered him “numerous versions of an improved contract,” but said he has “rejected or ignored” all of them.

The statement also said that FaZe Clan has “encouraged and supported any FaZe member interested in hiring a third party manager and/or agent.”

Faze Bank’s Video

Later in the day, Banks uploaded his own video called “Dear TFue.”

In the video, Banks describes how emotional and hard it is for him to deal with the situation because he was so blindsided by someone who he was close to. He then goes on to break down all of the allegations piece by piece, starting with the claim that Faze Clan took 80 percent of Tenney’s earnings.

Banks says that FaZe Clan has only ever made $60,000 off Tenney, which is just a fraction of the money he makes. “He earns a hell of a lot of money. A lot more money than you guys know,” FaZe Bank’s said.

“But I can tell you, that $60,000 of his total amount of money that he’s made is probably closer to like 0.1 percent. And mind you that’s $60,000, cause where it came from is important, that $60,000 came from two brand deals that we brought Turner that we took 20 percent of. So that is an 80 percent split to Turner and then the rest of the 20 goes to Faze clan.”

“We have collected zero percent of his prize winnings, we have collected zero on YouTube, we have collected zero on Twitch his subs, his ad revenue, nothing. Literally nothing,” said Banks.

In an earlier tweet, Bank’s shared a video clip of Tenney saying he keeps all his earnings. “Do I keep all my earnings? Yeah,” Tenney said in the video. “All like the regular tournament winnings, yeah.”

In “Dear Tfue,” Banks also addresses the allegation that FaZe Clan made Tenney and others do dangerous stunts. “Turner we all know you’re a fucking sicko. You jump off of shit, you’ve been doing that far, far, far before you met us,” he said. “And if anyone was pressuring anyone into doing it it was you.”

Banks goes on to discuss the claim that Tenney was pressured into drinking. “We went to a party at your current girlfriends house before you were 21,” he said. “Steve chugged a handle of alcohol and you were trashed in the video and you were 20 years old at the time.”

Banks also tweeted a video of Tenney shotgunning beers back in 2016.

Cloakzy Response

Tenney’s has still not come out and said anything.

However, on Monday, Tenney’s gaming partner Cloakzy release a statement of his own. Cloakzy he said that he did not want to speak on behalf of Tenney, but still wanted to share his point of view.

“Banks shouldn’t be getting hate for anything and you’re all braindead if you think he has anything to do with anything bad that has happened,” Cloakzy said. “Everything that you see FaZe doing today is because of him. He has shown us nothing but love and appreciation as he does every player that has ever played for FaZe.”

“Unfortunately we didn’t see eye to eye with SOME management,” he continued. “Lots of people wanted to make a lot right but their hands were tied, contract things that happened behind the scenes/situations that will not be brought to light not involving banks.”

Cloakzy also made a note to tell everyone to wait until everyone in the situation has spoken before jumping to conclusions.

Bank’s retweeted the statement and wrote: “I appreciate this tweet more than you could ever know.”

As for Tenney’s lawsuit, it could have huge implications for the esports community. If he wins, it could potentially change how esports is regulated. The lawsuit claims that because esports is a new industry, “there is little or no regulation,” but adds that the need for it is “dire.”

According to the lawsuit Tfue, “seeks to shift the balance of power to gamers and content creators/streamers.”

“As a result of this action, others will hopefully take notice of what is.”

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (VICE) (The Verge)

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Black Mirror or Reality? Microsoft Granted Patent for Tech That Lets It Create Chatbots of Dead People

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  • Microsoft has been granted a patent that would allow it to create artificial intelligence chatbots of dead people using “voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.”
  • As Microsoft noted in its patent proposal, chatbots could also be created to imitate living people — opening the door for users to train a digital version of themselves to be used after they die. 
  • In the patent filing, Microsoft also suggested creating 2D or 3D models of chatbot subjects by studying images and videos of them.
  • Online, many noted the similarities between Microsoft’s patent and a 2013 episode of Black Mirror in which a woman creates an AI version of her deceased boyfriend. 

Microsoft Granted Controversial Patent

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Microsoft a patent for technology that would allow it digitally revive dead people.

If implemented, Microsoft would use information like “voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.,” to create artificial intelligence chatbots meant to replicate the person.

In its filing, Microsoft noted that the person could be “a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, a celebrity, a fictional character, a historical figure, a random entity, etc.”

Microsoft also noted, “the specific person may also correspond to oneself (e.g., the user creating/training the chat bot), or a version of oneself (e.g., oneself at a particular age or stage of life).”

As The Independent pointed out, that opens up the door for living users to be able to “train a digital replacement in the event of their death.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Microsoft has also suggested creating 2D or even 3D models of the person by studying images and videos of them.

Has Life Finally Become an Episode of Black Mirror?

Online, many noted the similarities between Microsoft’s patent and a 2013 episode of Black Mirror in which a character, played by Hayley Atwell, revives her recently-deceased boyfriend through an AI chatbot. As the episode progresses, that AI — played by Domhnall Gleeson — eventually becomes an exact replica android of her boyfriend. 

“More people that need to remember Black Mirror is a warning sign, not a product manual,” said Tama Leaver, an internet studies professor at Curtin University in Australia. 

Indeed, many critics have interpreted the episode, which focuses on the grief felt by Atwell’s character because of her loss, as an examination of “our own mortality and our desire to play God.” 

“It shines a spotlight on our desperate need to reverse a natural and necessary part of life without considering the consequences on our emotional well-being,” Roxanne Sancto said in a review for Paste Magazine.

In fact, series creator Charlie Brooker said part of his direct inspiration for writing the episode was based on Twitter and the question: “What if these people were dead and it was software emulating their thoughts?”

See what others are saying: (The Independent) (IGN) (Indie Wire)

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JoJo Siwa Fans Caution Against Labeling the Star’s Sexuality

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  • JoJo Siwa was featured in two TikTok videos Wednesday that many felt signaled her as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • One showed her dancing and lip-syncing to Paramore’s “Aint It Fun,” along with members of the TikTok group Pride House LA. Siwa specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us,” which is also the caption of the post. 
  • The second video showed her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.  
  • The 17-year-old entertainer has not directly addressed speculations about her sexuality, prompting many to caution against labeling her.

JoJo Siwa TikToks Trigger Sexuality Speculations

JoJo Siwa fans are urging the public not to label the 17-year-old entertainer’s sexuality, especially when she has not explicitly done so herself.

The request came after Siwa became a trending topic Wednesday when many speculated that she had come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

The speculations stem from two TikTok videos she was featured in. The first was posted on choreographer Kent Boyd’s account. It features him and other members of the TikTok group Pride House LA, which includes several stars from Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie.”

It showed them all lip-syncing and dancing along to Paramore’s hit song “Ain’t It Fun.” Siaw specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us.” That lyric was also the caption of the post.

@kentboyd_

Now your one of us!! @itsjojosiwa @molleegray @garrettclayton91 @jekajane #pridehousela

♬ now ur one of us – Mia Mugavero

Later in the day, Siwa posted a video on her personal TikTok account that featured her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem. 

Part of the lyrics she sang along to were: “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian transgender life / I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.” 

Reactions

These posts really started all the rumors online, and things picked up when influencers like James Charles, Bretman Rock, and others expressed their support.

Many fans also left comments on the videos saying they were proud of her, and journalist Yashar Ali tweeted, “This feels like a big deal if it is what I think it is…JoJo Siwa is hugely popular with kids.”

“And as someone just pointed out, if it is what I think it is, she’s doing it at the height of her fame when she’s selling out arenas,” he continued.

Despite the wave of praise, other fans feel that it’s inappropriate and harmful to make speculations about anyone’s sexuality.

Many have even shared their own experiences coming out, reminding people not to label Siwa as anything until she explicitly chooses to share that information herself. 

While Siwa hasn’t directly addressed any of the responses as of yet, she has retweeted a post that features her video, the pride flag emoji, and the caption, “@itsjojosiwa is on the right track, she was born this way.”

Still, others also noted that she has publicly asked Lady Gaga to collaborate with her in the past, so perhaps this is a signal about that happening soon.

Others believe it could also be Siwa’s way of signaling that she is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Metro) (Teen Vogue)

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Google Investigates Top AI Researcher Who Was Looking Into a Previous Firing

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  • Google is investigating the co-leader of its Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell.
  • While Mitchell has not been fired, her account has been locked because Google said she “exfiltrated thousands of files” and shared them with people outside of the company. 
  • In a tweet, Mitchell indicated that she had been “documenting current critical issues” related to the firing of another Google AI Ethicist in December.
  • Sources reportedly told Axios that Mitchell had been specifically looking for messages that showed discriminatory treatment of that fired researcher.

Google Investigates Margaret Mitchell

On Tuesday, Google stated that it is now investigating the co-leader of its Ethical Al team, Margaret Mitchell.

Mitchell has reportedly not been fired, but her company email account has been locked.

According to Google, its security systems automatically lock employee accounts “when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered.”

In this case, Google said Mitchell “exfiltrated thousands of files” and then shared them with people outside of the company. 

Why Did Mitchell Begin Looking Through Files?

Mitchell’s investigation is related to the ousting of another top AI ethicist at Google, Timnit Gebru, who was fired at the beginning of December. 

Before Gebru was fired, managers reportedly instructed her to withdraw an unpublished research paper upon her return from vacation. In an email to the internal listserv Google Brain Women and Allies, Gebru then voiced frustration at managers for allegedly making the decision without her input. 

“You are not worth having any conversations about this, since you are not someone whose humanity (let alone expertise recognized by journalists, governments, scientists, civic organizations such as the electronic frontiers foundation etc) is acknowledged or valued in this company,” Gebru said in a critique of the decision. 

Gebru’s firing led to such a massive outcry from Google employees that Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to investigate the situation. 

On Friday, Mitchell indicated in a tweet that she was also looking into Gebru’s firing, saying that she was “documenting current critical issues from [Gebru’s] firing, point by point, inside and outside work.”

According to Axios, sources have said that Mitchell used automated scripts to siphon through messages that potentially document discriminatory treatment against Gebru.

See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Verge) (Bloomberg)

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