'Fresh Prince' actor Alfonso Ribeiro sues Fortnite creators for intellectual property theft


 // Dec 18, 2018

Fortnite took 2018 by storm with celebrities such as Drake and Lil Yachty helping bring the video game to an increasingly mainstream audience.

However, the game has not been without controversy amidst its rise to prominence. As reported by TMZ, famed "Fresh Prince" actor Alfonso Ribeiro is the latest to take legal action against the game's parent company Epic Games, claiming that they ripped off his signature dance moves from when he portrayed the character Carlton Banks. The suit is reportedly identical to one he is also filing against 2K Games, the company that created NBA 2K.

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According to TMZ, Ribeiro claims that the new dance one of the game's characters can perform is called the "Fresh Emote" and is a complete knockoff of what he came up with during the '90s sitcom. The game incorporated the dance in January of this year. Ribeiro also shared that he is in the middle of copyrighting the Carlton dance.

"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 of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, shared in a statement to TMZ. "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."

The actor's legal action follows that of 2 Milly's, who filed a lawsuit earlier this year accusing the Fortnite creators of illegally appropriating his "Milly Rock" dance. BlocBoy JB has also vocalized his frustration with the gaming company, alleging that they ripped off his "Shoot" dance.

"There was a video of Bruce Springsteen and Courtney Cox called 'Dancing in the Dark,' and Bruce Springsteen pulls her up onto the stage and she basically does that dance..." Ribeiro shared with Buzzfeed in 2013. "It was also from Eddie Murphy's 'Delirious' comedy video where he does 'The White Man Dance.' What I did was ultimately take those two dances and combined them and made it my own, and made it my character's."

Compare Alfonso Ribeiro's rendition of the dance and that of Fortnite's below.

The Carlton Dance
Fresh Emote in Fortnite Battle Royale is the Carlton Dance
Fortnite Guides
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