A ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Actor Is Suing ‘Fortnite’ Over A Dance Move
This could become a story all about how Fortnite's approach to emotes gets flip turned upside down.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro is suing Epic Games, developers behind battle royale phenomenon Fortnite, for alleged unauthorised use of his ‘Carlton dance’ as an emote in the game. This could become a story all about how Fortnite‘s approach to emotes gets flip turned upside down.
Invented by Riberio for the ’90s sitcom, the widely recognisable dance choreography is commonly associated with the actor and his character — so much so that Fortnite players are known to refer to the allegedly infringing emote as the ‘Carlton dance’.
“It is widely recognised that Mr Ribeiro’s likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite,” said Ribeiro’s attorney to TMZ.
Though the dances appear identical, the similarities don’t end with the moves themselves. In Fortnite, the beat of the emote’s backing song closely resembles that of Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual — the song to which the ‘Carlton dance’ is typically performed. Further, the emote’s official name is ‘Fresh’, an apparent reference to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Ribeiro is currently in the process of copyrighting the dance and is seeking damages, as well as an order stopping Fortnite from continuing to use it.
“Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh’,” said Ribeiro’s attorney. “Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property.” Epic refused to comment to TMZ, citing ongoing litigation.
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to see uncredited dances in Fortnite, and Ribeiro isn’t the first celebrity to call out the game for ripping off their moves. Instagram personality Russell Horning, AKA Backpack Kid, is also suing Epic Games for allegedly using of his dance in emote ‘The Floss’. And earlier this month, rapper 2 Milly sued Epic Games for allegedly copying his ‘Milly Rock’ dance in Fortnite‘s ‘Swipe It’ emote.
“I was never compensated by Epic Games for their use of the ‘Milly Rock’,” 2 Milly said in a press release to Kotaku. “They never even asked for my permission.”
Though he hasn’t taken legal action, in September rapper BlocBoy JB took to Twitter to address Fortnite‘s ‘Hype’ emote, which appears to copy his ‘Shoot’ dance. “EveryTime Somebody Does My Dance Dey Give Credit To @FortniteGame But Dey Ain’t Create Nothing But Da Game So Basically Dey Takin Money And Credit For My Shit Dats Crazy.”
Actor Donald Faison has also has expressed displeasure that Fortnite copied the dance he invented for Scrubs. “I didn’t get no money,” he said at LA’s Vulture Festival, via VG247. “I know, that’s what you’re all thinking right? Somebody got paid. No. No, I did not. Somebody stole that shit and it’s not mine no more.” It is currently the game’s default dance emote.
These dances have spread so much joy to so many people. Hopefully, a solution will be worked out that will make the inventors of these moves just as happy.