Dancing straight to the courthouse. Alfonso Ribeiro is suing Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., the creators of the popular online video games Fortnite and NBA 2K, respectively, for allegedly stealing a dance move he made famous during his tenure as Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, CNN reports.
The actor, 47, recently filed a lawsuit that claims Fortnite’s “Fresh” emote is an exact copy of “The Carlton” dance, which was featured on the ‘90s sitcom. Carlton frequently would blast Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” and swing his arms and wiggle his hips in an exaggerated move that quickly became synonymous with the character.
Fortnite released its latest move, which looks very similar to the character’s dance, for purchase on January 2, and the Dancing With the Stars alum claims the company “unfairly profited” from using his likeness and taking advantage of his “protected creative expression, according to CNN. The lawsuit also claims that NBA 2K sold its version of the dance as an in-game purchase under the name “So Fresh.”
“Twenty-seven years later, The Dance remains distinctive, immediately recognizable, and inextricably linked to Ribeiro’s identity, celebrity, and likeness,” the lawsuits states, according to CNN.
“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 America’s Funniest Home Videos host’s attorney, David Hecht, told 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.”
Ribeiro’s lawsuit comes shortly after rapper 2 Milly also sued Epic Games for allegedly using his “Milly Rock” dance (Fortnite calls it the “Swipe It”) in the game for profit without his consent. Hecht is also representing the rapper in the suit and told TMZ on December 5 that he is “proud to stand up for African American creatives whose expression and likenesses have misappropriated.”
“Epic is enjoying record profits off of downloadable content in Fortnite, yet has failed to pay or even ask permission to use artists’ intellectual property and likenesses over many of its popular emote dances,” he continued.
Ribeiro is suing for damages and for both companies to stop using his likeness to make money without giving him any compensation.
Us Weekly has reached out to Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. for comment.
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