You know that a dance routine has become iconic when folks know the moves much more than they can recall its creator.
Two ultra-popular gaming companies are apparently aware of this as they reportedly used the “Carlton dance” made popular by former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro in their massively profitable video games.
Ribeiro has filed a lawsuit against Fortnite and NBA 2K for appropriating his signature routine without obtaining Ribeiro’s consent and for failing to pay him. According to CNN, Ribeiro is in the process of copyrighting the dance.
Ribeiro is far from alone, however, in feeling like he’s been swindled by mega-companies.
Other artists and actors, including rapper 2 Milly, Russell “The Backpack Kid” Horning and former “Scrubs” star Donald Faison, are also filing similar lawsuits against Fortnite for allegedly stealing their routines without proper recognition, permission or payment.
Check out a video clip of the Carlton dance followed by a snippet of Fortnite Battle Royale, courtesy of YouTube:
Ribeiro has filed legal documents naming Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, and Take-Two Interactive, the creator of the NBA 2K series, for misappropriating his dance.
Ribeiro’s attorney David Hecht addressed the matter in a statement to the Huffington Post. Hecht also accuses Fortnite of continuously using popular African American talent and original artistic expression for its own profit.
“It is widely recognized 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. Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.’ Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property.
“Therefore, Mr. Ribeiro is seeking his fair and reasonable share of profits Epic has earned by use of his iconic intellectual property in Fortnite and as a result is requesting through the courts that Epic cease all use of Mr. Ribeiro’s signature dance.”
Rapper 2 Milly told Business Insider and CBS News that he created the “Milly Rock” dance in 2014 during the video for his song, “Milly Rock.” Russell “The Backpack Kid” Horning, 16, is credited for the “Floss” dance phenomenon that originated in spring 2017. Faison accuses Fortnite of using a dance he created on the show “Scrubs” as their default dance for one of their games.
According to BusinessInsider.com, “Fortnite: Battle Royale” has become the world’s most popular game as it is hauling in an astronomical $200 million a month. The aforementioned artists are demanding that they receive their rightful piece of this vast money pie.
The two companies have declined to comment on the matter at this time.