Jur3ky and Wave Esports are at odds over an unfavorable contract.
Contracts in competitive Fortnite Battle Royale have become the subject of controversy over the last few years. Some may remember the legal battle between Turner “Tfue” Tenney and FaZe Clan as the earliest example of unclear terms and a blatant disagreement between two parties. These game-wide issues continued with movements such as #FreeEdgey, #Freemitr0 and, more recently, #FreeAndilex.
This collection of players negotiated their way into contracts with esports organizations, but their rapid growth created a hunger for more. All of a sudden, these players felt their signed agreements no longer suited their actual value. As a result, these players and their fans orchestrated movements to raise awareness and to pressure the organizations into releasing them. The trend continues with FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 6 winner Jur3ky, who is now at odds with Wave Esports over a supposed $0 USD contract.
The #FreeJur3ky Movement Begins
Fortnite coach DestinysJesus initiated the #FreeJur3ky movement on Twitter. He called out Wave Esports for reaping the benefits of a Fortnite Champion while offering no salary.
“Can't believe I have to do this again but keeping a player who won an FNCS stuck on a $0 academy contract and saying he got lucky etc doesn't sit right with me,” he wrote.
The reactions flooded in rather quickly. Many professional players stood behind Jur3ky, while others questioned how rising competitors put themselves into these situations. Jur3ky did not react to the initial tweet, but Wave Esports’ COO Ludwig “Luuu” Kainz commented on the backlash.
Response from Wave’s COO
Kainz answered all of Wave’s critics with a Twitlonger post.
“In Jur3ky's case there is lots of misinformation, we internally agreed on paying him a smaller salary for the remaining 3 months, even tho [sic] he didn't want to sign a new contract for a longer time. His expectations didn't match his value in no realistic dimension,” he wrote after explaining the background of Wave Esports.
The statement continued:
“Yes, he won a FNCS, but that was his only achievement in 2 years, and it was a team event that he played with one of the most established duo's in Europe... We also told him that after his contract is over our financial situation might allow a higher salary, but it just proves the fact that he knows himself that he wants to oversell himself at his peak and doesn't believe that he will be worth more in 3 months…”
Kainz showed no sign of reasoning with Jur3ky or his crusade of followers. Instead, he diminished the player’s Fortnite Champion Series win and claimed Jur3ky merely wanted to capitalize on the achievement. This reaction from the organization’s COO did not sit well with much of the community. However, Kainz has every right to defend a legally binding contract. Jur3ky referenced the conflict online after the story gained recognition.
Jur3ky Responds to the Outcry
The FNCS Season 6 Champion went on Twitter with his response to the controversy. “Just to be clear I am under no salary and have wanted to sort this internally since winning FNCS,” he said. “I am in the wrong for not having used professional help from an agent when entering the agreement, but still feel this all could have been avoided.”
Unfortunately, Wave’s comments on the issue do not instill confidence. The fact is, Jur3ky is operating on a $0 salary from the organization under which he just won a major tournament. It’s not the first case of contract disputes in Fortnite, either. There have been multiple instances of players signing deals at an entry level and then exploding in popularity and achievements. The same situation occurred in Jur3ky’s case.
Wave’s Head of Talent and Player Acquisition provided a much more succinct and understandable Twitlonger post regarding Jur3ky.
“Discussions were held and Jur3ky agreed to let his academy contract ride out and discussions would resume after, where he had no obligation to stay with the organisation ( this was roughly two-three weeks ago). The contract was signed in good faith from both parties and we wouldn't ever want to harm the FN ecosystem but people are forgetting that at the time it was a rlly [sic] good opportunity for him to grow his brand.”
We’ll have to wait for Jur3ky’s complete statement about his contract and current standing with Wave Esports. However, he signed a contract and will likely need to abide by its terms until it expires.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story.