Note: This is an opinion piece, and therefore does not necessarily represent the views of The Esports Advocate or any other publication or individual whose work has been linked within.
Earlier this week The Esports Advocate published TEA financial reporter Tobias Seck’s article on FaZe Clan’s latest SEC filing. There was a bunch of feedback and engagement on it (some negative, and some fair criticism), but the most interesting thing that happened was that FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink wrote this on Twitter, in response:
At the time I offered to drop everything I was doing to talk to him one-on-one in a phone call that day. Trink never responded to our offer—honestly, he rarely talks to endemic media, and when he does it would not be hyperbole to call those outlets friendly and safe for him.
But what if he did talk to us? What questions would we ask him about the current state of FaZe and its future, or for that matter, prior controversies with the organization that he has been silent on? With this in mind, here are 10 questions I would have asked Trink if he had sat down with TEA—who knows, maybe he’ll jump on Twitter and answer some of them:
- Following the planned reverse stock split, which will hopefully bring FaZe back into Nasdaq compliance (but will not fix any of the company’s underlying issues causing the stock to crash in the first place), what is FaZe Clan’s new plan to find a path to profitability considering the company wasn’t able to raise funding it expected and designed it growth strategy around?
- Given the current financial state of FaZe, have executives including yourself taken austerity measures such as pay cuts and a temporary freeze on bonuses?
- Did the executive team and largest shareholders “steal” FaZe away from the founders as alleged by co-founder Richard “FaZe Banks” Bengston, in your view? What were the founders’ involvement in the early days of decision making when you joined the company?
- Did you have any knowledge of schemes that various FaZe members were involved in related to NFTs, crypto, or gambling, including the Save The Kids controversy? How about the signing of 11-year-old Fortnite player H1ghsky1? As the CEO of a company that sells its influencers as its main assets how could you not have knowledge of all of these activities?
- Do you think creating inspirational clips for social media platforms like Instagram about yourself is tone deaf given the current state of the company?
- Are there any strategic options for securing FaZe’s future, which do not include an outright sale?
- Should FaZe come to an inflection point where it can no longer generate enough revenue and raise fresh capital to pay for costs, what is the plan? Bankruptcy?
- When FaZe Clan decided to go public, was the expectation that it would succeed by becoming a meme stock similar to what happened with GameStop?
- The Wikipedia entry for FaZe Clan (which has since been edited out but relates to this campaign and this tweet) claims that it helped Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles to renovate housing for families of sick kids seeking treatment at local hospitals. How much did FaZe actually contribute to Ronald McDonald House? Were those housing units ever renovated? Was there a gaming-related space built out by FaZe for the kids that are visiting there?
- FaZe is paying you a seven-figure annual salary, while the company has a market capitalization equal roughly to just a third of the latest investment it took. Considering FaZe’s value deterioration, would you say that salary including guaranteed bonuses is justified and at what point should a CEO take responsibility for the company’s strategic and operational issues and resign?
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in The Fudge Retort newsletter earlier this week.