Ever wondered what it'd be like to be a TMZ photog??? Well, wonder no longer and instead put your imagination to the test. Do it well ... and we'll hook you up!!!
That's right, folks. We're putting the #TMZChallenge out into the universe and inviting YOU to participate for a chance to win a free trip to L.A. Here's how to play ... do your best man-on-the-street style interview on camera (cell phones are fine) with literally anybody (yes, ANYBODY), ask some killer questions and engage in some stirring conversation, then share it on social media with #TMZChallenge and #Contest. That's it.
Still confused? All good ... just listen to our own photog, Charlie, here, and he'll explain it all. Then check out our own in-house versions of the #TMZChallenge to get you in the zone.
This guy up here is Derek ... he works here!!! Check out the interview we did with him, and you'll get the gist of how this works. And, if you're thinking of doing this outside, go ahead and watch our super spontaneous chat with Loren. Very TMZ-like, right? Exactly ... you get it.
Now, for parameters ... the #TMZChallenge runs from November 4 through November 17 -- that's when you should submit your vid. How to submit? Easy ... just upload your own TMZ-style interview on either Instagram, Twitter or TikTok with the hashtag #TMZChallenge and #Contest.
If we pick yours ... we'll fly you and a pal to Hollywood for a few nights, get you on our TMZ Celebrity Tour and also on our show, "TMZ on TV," between the dates of Dec. 9-12. We'll even cover your hotel and transportation costs to and from the hotel and airport. How 'bout that?!?
Should anything be unclear to you at this point, go ahead and read through the rules of the contest for all the nitty-gritty. Give it a gander, and then start filming!!!
Wanna see what $30,000 worth of damage in a fancy Vegas hotel looks like? Feast your eyes on this disaster!!!
Here's the room Esports megastar FaZe Banks allegedly destroyed during a wild Oct. 13 bender at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas -- and it looks like a scene out of "The Hangover."
Smashed tables. Smashed windows. Smashed TVs. Smashed everything. You get the point.
In footage obtained by TMZ Sports, you can see people still in the room the next morning ... still in awe of the damage. Banks is laying casually in a mostly intact couch.
The problem for Banks -- real name Richard Bengtson -- is that hotel officials weren't amused when they saw the wreckage and went to police.
Cops are now investigating Banks for felony malicious destruction of property, a serious charge that carries a maximum of 5 years in prison.
The good news for Banks ... the 28-year-old mogul is rich as hell (he co-founded the wildly popular FaZe Clan gaming organization) and can easily afford to cover the damage.
Our Vegas law enforcement sources tell us stuff likes this happens in Vegas hotels all the time and the hotel usually drops the case if the damages are paid.
A rep for Banks tells us they're working with the hotel to resolve the situation ... which essentially means break out that checkbook!!!
FaZe Banks -- one of the biggest names in Esports -- is under investigation for allegedly destroying his hotel room and causing more than $30k in damage, TMZ Sports has learned.
FYI, 27-year-old Banks is the co-founder of the wildly successful FaZe Clan -- perennial contenders in games like "Call of Duty," "Fortnite," "Overwatch" and more. FaZe Clan is so huge, stars like Offset, Lil Yachty and Post Malone have joined the squad.
But, during a Vegas bender on October 14, we're told cops were called to FB's room at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas on a destruction of property call.
We're told the room was an absolute DISASTER zone -- with smashed furniture, holes in the walls, a smashed window, broken lamp stand, pictures ripped off the wall, stains on the carpet and more.
Our sources say even the plants in the room were wrecked -- with soil all over the ground.
Oh, and it appeared the main flat-screen TV got it too -- it looked like it had been smashed multiple times with heavy objects.
In other words, WHAT A PARTY, RIGHT!?!?!?
The bad news for Banks -- real name Richard Bengtson -- we're told the estimated damage is over $30,000 which means he can be charged with felony malicious destruction of property. The charge carries a maximum 5 years in prison, but there's no way Banks gets anywhere close to that even if he's convicted.
The good news for Banks -- he's RICH AS HELL and can easily afford to cover the damages if he wants to.
One law enforcement source tells us ... stuff likes this happens in Vegas hotels all the time and the hotel usually drops the case if the damages are paid.
In fact, we just got this statement from Banks' rep -- "FaZe Clan and Encore are working together to resolve this matter."
Translation ... CUT THE CHECK!!!
So far, we're told no charges have been filed -- but the investigation is currently active.
What's interesting about this ... FaZe Clan has a reputation for being the bad boys of Esports ... so, the allegations fit the brand.
Alex Trebek is clearly having some difficulties taking the reigns of "Jeopardy!" as he undergoes a second round of chemo for pancreatic cancer, but it is full steam ahead and there are no signs Alex is throwing in the towel.
Trebek's recent interview with Canadian TV fueled speculation his days as the host of the iconic game show may be numbered. He said chemo has caused mouth sores to erupt, making it difficult to speak. Alex has said repeatedly, if his ability to host the show diminishes, he will step down, but we're told that's NOT on the horizon.
"Jeopardy!" production sources tell us the show is taped 2.5 months in advance, and as of now, they have shows well into December. So, if Alex is under the weather and misses a few tapings, it won't send the show into freefall.
A Ninja lost his mask on last night's episode of "The Masked Singer" ... and it was all after an Ice Cream-headed rendition of the biggest song of all-time.
Of course, the Ninja we're talking about is the ultra-famous professional gamer ... and he tried his hand last night at being the new Lil Nas X, performing "Old Town Road," and we're not professional judges, but the whole thing looked pretty awesome to us.
Good news for Ninja is that judges Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke and Ken Jeong were rocking out to the over-the-top elaborate performance, and freaked out when he was unmasked (they're fans).
How's this for a fashion crossover?!?!
Louis Vuitton just dropped the first images of the custom travel trunk they designed for the most coveted trophy in Esports ... the "League of Legends" Summoners Cup!!!
The trophy is awarded to winner of the world championships in Paris in November along with a $1 MILLION cash prize!
Now, LV is getting into the gaming world ... partnering up with Riot Games (the company behind LoL) to create the official case of the Cup.
Here's how LV is describing the case ...
"The bespoke trunk, the first of its kind for an esports championship, will feature both traditional Louis Vuitton savoir-faire along with cutting-edge, high-tech elements inspired by the League of Legends universe."
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"In addition to the Trophy Case, Louis Vuitton has designed unique champion skins and a capsule collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director of Women’s collections, along with other League of Legend digital assets."
No word on how much the case is worth on the open market -- but a special Louis Vuitton x Supreme trunk recently sold for $70,000!!! So, yeah ... this is a valuable item for sure!
The 2018 "LoL" world title went to Invictus Gaming, a team from China. The runner-up was Fnatic, a team based out of the UK.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ain't just a beast on the gridiron ... the Green Bay Packers stud WR is a killer on the sticks too -- telling TMZ Sports he could be a pro gamer!!!
The 24-year-old has become Aaron Rodgers' second-favorite target this season ... and after he scored a 40-yard TD on Sunday, he busted out a famous Fortnite dance in the end zone.
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So, when we spoke with him on Monday ... we had to ask, what was the inspiration for that???
That's when Valdes-Scantling told us he's a huge gamer ... and he's so good -- he thinks he could be up there on stages with Ninja and FaZe Censor!!!
"I definitely think I'm good enough to play professionally," Marquez says.
Of course, Valdes-Scantling has a pretty good career going for himself in Green Bay ... and tells us there's ZERO chance of him leaving football for pro gaming.
As for the Packers, Marquez tells us they're in a good spot at 3-0 to start the season ... and says they're definitely "the team to beat right now!!!"
There's a ton of money in Esports ... and there could be GOLD in video games soon too ... 'cause Fortnite superstar Ninja says gaming WILL be in the Olympics -- it's just a matter of time.
Of course, Esports is bigger than ever -- the prize pool for the Fortnite World Cup was $30 MILLION in July (shout-out to 16-year-old gamer Bugha, who took home $3 milli for winning).
Ninja doesn't think the sport's done growing ... 'cause he says gamers will be representing their country on the sticks VERY soon.
"For me, I just think it's going to be time," Ninja tells TMZ Sports. "I think that obviously, the younger generation enjoys Esports and enjoys watching video games. Eventually, that's what they're gonna want and that's what the TV people are gonna want to show and represent."
"Just give a little bit of time and Esports will be there."
As for how soon it can happen, we ask if it can happen in time for the 2028 Games in L.A. ... and Ninja says he "wouldn't put it out of the question."
The greatest Fortnite player alive also weighs in on what countries would dominate in video games at the Olympics ... and it ain't the U.S. of A.
"F**king FaZe up, bitch!!!"
Think Offset is stoked to be part of the FaZe Clan, one of the biggest teams in gaming?!?
The Migos rapper, who's a huge gamer, recently became an investor in FaZe Clan -- and when we spotted him out in NYC, he couldn't contain his excitement!!!
"I'm with FaZe Clan -- FaZe Up, bitch!!!"
Offset says gaming is becoming the "biggest s**t in the world" ... and he's right -- predicting it'll be a $30 BILLION industry by 2022.
"Big money," Offset says ... "but the thing is I do it for the kids, for the culture. It's a way to get your mind away from things."
Offset says he believes gaming "is a good thing for mental health" because it can help alleviate stress.
In fact, Offset says he wants to launch a project to help spread his message but warns our TMZ photog ... "Don't steal my idea motherf**ker!"
And, if Offset wasn't cool enough already ... watch him light up some random guy's cigarette as he walks into his building -- smooooooooth.
The BIG3 was ON FIRE over the weekend -- with a ton of huge stars hitting the American Airlines Center in Dallas for the BIG3 Ballout ... capped off with a live performance from T.I.
The place was rockin' ... with Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Gary Payton and more showing support for the league's intense 6-game showcase just 1 week before the playoffs begin. The championship game is on Sept. 1 at Staples Center.
And, with so many players in the league looking to make the jump back to the NBA, it's a pretty big deal to have Dallas Mavericks honcho Mark Cuban sitting in the front row.
The Triplets are 7-1 through 8 weeks -- with Stephen Jackson's Killer 3s squad in 2nd place with a 5-3 record.
Gaming superstar Bugha -- who just won $3 MILLION in the Fortnite World Cup -- was swatted during a Twitch stream on Saturday ... after someone pretending to be Bugha called police and claimed he killed his father.
The 16-year-old -- real name Kyle Giersdorf -- was playing the same game that made him an instant millionaire when armed cops surrounded his home.
"I've been swatted," Bugha said on the live stream ... which, BTW, is a dumb trend when someone makes a fake claim on a 911 call to get law enforcement to crash an unsuspecting victim's home.
Cops called Bugha's home while waiting outside and spoke with his dad ... and eventually figured out it was a hoax when one of the officers recognized the gamer.
"They came in with guns, bro. They literally pulled up," Bughha said once he returned to the stream.
"That's scary. What if I had just got popped? Jesus Christ, the internet's f**king crazy."
Swatting is becoming a big problem in gaming, and holds serious criminal consequences -- 26-year-old Tyler Barriss was sentenced to 20 years after calling in a fake emergency on a Call of Duty opponent back in March, which led to the death of a 28-year-old man in Wichita.
After things calmed down ... Bugha returned to his friends and finished the game.
FWIW -- Bugha's friends won the game while the swatting was going down.
Somebody caught 'em all ... and paid some serious coin for it!!!
TMZ Sports has learned a complete set of Pokemon cards just fetched $107,010 at auction ... and it's the most cash someone has EVER plopped down for the famous card game!!!
The 103 pieces are ridiculously rare ... they're all in perfect, Gem Mint 10 condition -- and, yes, the most coveted Pokemon card in the world, the 1st edition Charizard, is included.
The holographic Alakazam, Blastoise and Chansey cards are also in the set -- which was sold at Goldin Auctions over the weekend -- and they're all in unbelievable shape considering they were made in 1999.
In fact, we're told for some of these cards ... there are less than 50 (!!!) in these conditions in the world!!
Better get on the phone with Mom and check that childhood collection ASAP!!!
Donald Trump believes video games are partly to blame for the mass shootings in America -- claiming the "glorification of violence" is desensitizing potential real-life killers.
POTUS just delivered a speech from the White House in the wake of 2 mass shootings over the weekend in Ohio and Texas ... where 29 people were killed by domestic terrorists.
During his speech Monday morning, Trump noted 3 things the government can do to address the threat ... one of which is do a better job of regulating video game violence.
"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society -- this includes the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace," Trump said.
"It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence."
"We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately."
Trump is clearly referring to ultra-popular games like Fortnite, Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto ... where killing people is the point.
The issue with Trump's logic ... they have video games in other countries, right?
The powerful FaZe Clan gaming team is suing its most famous member, Tfue ... claiming the 21-year-old has "betrayed" the team and damaged the brand by trying to weasel his way out of their contract.
21-year-old Tfue (real name Turner Tenney) is one of the top gamers in the world -- and has earned MILLIONS of dollars thanks to his dominance in Fortnite.
Earlier this year, Tfue called out FaZe Clan publicly -- painting himself as a victim who was taken advantage of by a big gaming team who pressured a then-20-year-old to sign an unfair contract.
The biggest issue at the time was that Tfue claimed FaZe Clan's contract called for 80% of his brand deals and 50% of his merchandise profits ... and Tfue felt it was unfair.
But now, FaZe Clan is firing back in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York ... essentially saying boo-hoo, you signed the contract and need to live up to it.
"Though a rookie athlete, Tenney was an adult when he signed his contract," FaZe says ... adding, "An initial rookie contract is a risk that the organization takes; most young players young careers never take off."
In fact, FaZe Clan says they believe Tfue has made more than $20 MILLION in earnings since joining FaZe Clan in April 2018 and he's only forked over $60,000.
FaZe says TFue was just your average "skilled gamer" when they found him -- and they transformed him into a bankable gaming pro.
FaZe says the deal they have in place with Tfue locks him up until 2021 -- and the fact he's trying to bail is complete BS.
FaZe says they recognized Tfue was a star and offered significant bonuses along the way -- including an offer to increase his revenue shares in the company substantially. They also claim they offered Tfue a 7-figure salary ... but Tfue refused to play ball.
Instead, FaZe claims Tfue trashed the company publicly ... violating a non-disparagement clause in his contract.
Now, FaZe is suing for their share of Tfue's earnings -- and to shut him up from divulging confidential information about the Clan.
We spoke with TFue's attorney Bryan Freedman who tells us, "Faze Clan’s lawsuit in New York is a ridiculous and obvious attempt to avoid the consequences of its clear violations of California law"
"Filing the lawsuit in New York is actually an admission that Faze Clan has no defense to these violations of California law. Ask yourself, why is Faze Clan is afraid to litigate its wrongful conduct in California? The answer is obvious. Faze Clan will lose."
He continues, "In the New York lawsuit, Faze Clan actually admits to violating California’s Talent Agencies Act by procuring employment without a license. Equally egregious is the fact that Faze Clan is suing Turner under its illegal contract for the monies it publicly represented that it was not collecting. This is the first time in the history of Esports that an Organization has had the audacity to try and enforce contractual provisions that are so clearly illegal against one of its gamers."
Bombshell news in the gaming world ... Ninja is leaving Twitch -- and he's going to a direct competitor.
The move will land Ninja -- the most famous gamer on Earth -- with Microsoft's Mixer platform, Twitch's biggest competition with gamers in the livestreaming space.
Unclear how much cash Mixer shelled out to get Ninja to jump platforms, but we guarantee the numbers are HUGE.
Ninja is widely considered the most important gamer in the space and Mixer is clearly banking on Ninja bringing his massive fan base with him.
FYI, Ninja has more than 22 MILLION subscribers on YouTube ... and a HUGE chunk of those people watched him stream on Twitch every day.
The 28-year-old made the announcement on social media Thursday ... saying, "I'm super excited!"
"I'm honestly at a loss for words. I'm freaking out in the best of ways and I'm really just excited ... I feel like I'm gonna get back to the streaming roots."
Ninja says everything about his streams will be the exact same -- just on a new platform.
As we previously reported, Ninja said he makes around $500,000 per month just from streaming.
He also has big endorsement deals with brands like Red Bull.
Bottom line ... he's killing it right now.
Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf's $3 MILLION victory at the Fortnite World Cup is adding even more fire to one of the nastiest feuds in Esports ... involving a billionaire and one of the hottest execs in gaming.
TMZ Sports has obtained a lawsuit filed by Rob Moore -- the CEO of Sentinels, one of the top Esports franchises in the world. Bugha is a key member of the team.
Moore is suing Stan Kroenke's Esports company, KSE -- claiming he was tapped to build and run Stan's Esports empire in 2017 ... only to be stiffed out of millions of dollars for his troubles.
As part of the deal, Moore claims KSE wanted him to oversee their already-existing Overwatch league team, the L.A. Gladiators.
Long story short ... Moore says under the partnership with KSE, he put together a bunch of successful teams to compete in games from Fortnite and Apex Legends to League of Legends and Hearthstone.
Moore claims he not only scouted talent and signed some of the hottest gamers around -- including Bugha and xQc -- but he turned Stan's Esports division into a financial winner.
Here's where things get dicey ... Moore claims in early 2019, KSE was interested in acquiring Rick Fox's Team Echo Fox -- one of the most famous Esports franchises in the world.
The problem, Moore claims he never had a concrete contract with KSE in place ... and he wanted a formal deal that would give him a significant equity stake in Echo Fox if KSE bought the team.
Moore says he reached an oral agreement with Stan's son, Josh Kroenke, that was called a "Joint Venture" deal ... but now, Moore claims KSE is trying to renege.
In his lawsuit, Moore claims KSE is essentially trying to say he doesn't deserve equity because he isn't as important to the company as he THINKS he is.
Moore claims his resume speaks for itself ... and in the lawsuit, he actually points to Bugha's $3 million Fortnite victory as proof that he's great at his job.
Now, Moore is demanding compensation PLUS he wants 51% ownership of all KSE Esports teams including the L.A. Gladiators.
So, if the deal with Echo Fox goes through (it's reportedly a $30 mil deal) ... there's a lot of money at stake for Moore.
Moore's attorney Bryan Freedman tells TMZ Sports, "KSE's attempt to deny that Rob Moore and his team have been the sole operator of the successful Gladiators team is a transparent attempt to avoid their obligations under the joint venture agreement and has caused this lawsuit."
We reached out to KSE for comment -- we're waiting for official word back.