Alfonso Ribeiro says the Carlton dance does not belong to Fortnite. The actor is suing the Fortnite company to stop two video game developers from selling the dance that everyone knows from the famous “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” show.
Two lawsuits were filed on Monday, Alfonso Ribeiro is claiming the companies have “unfairly profited” from using his likeness and from exploiting his “protected creative expression.” The suits name Fortnite developer Epic Games Inc., and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., creator of the NBA 2K series, and several of its subsidiaries.
Epic Games and Take-Two subsidiary 2K Games did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
According to reports, The lawsuits ask a California federal court to bar the game developers from using, selling or displaying the dance. The suits state that Ribeiro is in the process of copyrighting the dance.
Alfonso Ribeiro, whom most people know as Carlton Banks from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” 90’s sitcom, states in the court filings that he is “inextricably linked” to the dance – a joyous, arm-swinging boogie often performed to Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.”
The lawsuits states Alfonso Ribeiro first performed the dance during the show’s 1991 Christmas episode.
“Twenty-seven years later, The Dance remains distinctive, immediately recognizable, and inextricably linked to Ribeiro’s identity, celebrity, and likeness,” according to the lawsuit filings.
Ribeiro later performed his signature move during his 2014 run on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Fortnite didn’t really hide behind the awareness of where the dance cam from, as they refer to it as the “Fresh”. This is also not the first celebrity to sue Fortnite for using signature routines. Rapper 2 Milly and Russell Horning, also known as the “Backpack Kid,” filed lawsuits against Epic Games over Fortnite’s use of their signature dances within the game. Horning created a dance called the “Floss” in 2016, while 2 Milly created the “Milly Rock” around 2015.
The lawsuit states “Epic intentionally induces others to perform these dances and mark them with those hashtags, which give attribution to and endorse Fortnite the game.” “Epic has consistently sought to exploit African-American talent, in particular in Fortnite, by copying their dances and movements and sell them through emotes.”