It was just a matter of time before Alfonso Ribeiro took legal action against “Fortnite” creator Epic Games, but now there might be a little wrinkle in his plans.
The “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star is suing Epic Games for stealing the iconic Carlton Dance his character Carlton Banks performed on the show, per TMZ.
“Fornite” released a new downloaded emote players’ characters can perform on Jan. 2. The dance move is called “Fresh Emote” and it seems to be identical to the Carlton Dance. The problem is “Fresh” and other emotes can be purchased using in-game currency that can be obtained by spending real money.
“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,” the actor’s attorney David Hecht reportedly told TMZ. “Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.'”
“Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property,” the lawyer expressed.
But now TMZ has news of an old video, shot in 2012, in which Ribeiro was asked about the genesis of the famous dance moves and the actor admits he actually stole the dance.
In the video, Ribeiro recalls reading the “Fresh Prince” script that called for him to do a funny dance. After thinking to himself for a moment he said, “I know exactly. I’m going to steal it.”
The moves, it turns out, were inspired by both Courteney Cox’s dance in the music video for Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” crossed with Eddie Murphy’s “White Man Dance”.
Many of the emotes used in the video game are heavily based on popular real-life moves. Rapper 2 Milly filed a similar lawsuit against Epic Games for allegedly stealing his “Milly Rock” dance move and the “Fortnite” store currently has a “Pure Salt” emote based on the Salt Bae meme.
Epic Games use of these dance moves has prompted the question: can you copyright a dance move?