STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'Fresh Prince' star Alfonso Ribeiro sues Fortnite over use of dance his character Carlton popularized

Carlton wants his dance back.Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is suing to stop two video game developers from se...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 2:27 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 2:27 PM

Carlton wants his dance back.

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is suing to stop two video game developers from selling a dance popularized by his "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" character.

Arts and entertainment

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Celebrities

Celebrity and pop culture

Computer science and information technology

Dancers and dancing

Law and legal system

Lawsuits and claims

Music and dance

Software and applications

Technology

Trial and procedure

Video games

Will Smith

In two lawsuits filed Monday, Ribeiro said 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 declined to comment on the lawsuit. Take-Two subsidiary 2K Games did not respond to a request for comment.

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.

Ribeiro, best known as Carlton Banks from the 1990s "Fresh Prince" sitcom, says 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 say 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," the lawsuits say.

Ribeiro also performed his signature move during his 2014 run on "Dancing with the Stars."

He is currently the host of "America's Funniest Home Videos."

According to the suit, Ribeiro says Epic is faking endorsements. He is asking the court for damages and that both companies stop profiting from the dance.

The games are among the most popular video games in the world. Epic recently announced that 78.3 million users logged in to play Fortnite in August. The NBA 2K series is critically acclaimed as one of the best sports games on the market.

'Fortnite' calls it the 'Fresh'

"Fortnite Battle Royale" is a game that pits up to 100 players against each other in a frenzied fight for survival, the last one standing wins.

The game provides in-game purchases like dances called "emotes," which have become so popular that teens all over the world post videos of themselves doing the dances with the hashtag #fortnitedance or #fortnitevideos, according to the lawsuit against Epic. The game sells what Ribeiro claims is his dance under the emote name "Fresh."

"Epic intentionally induces others to perform these dances and mark them with those hashtags, which give attribution to and endorse Fortnite the game," the lawsuit states. "Epic has consistently sought to exploit African-American talent, in particular in Fortnite, by copying their dances and movements and sell them through emotes."

Similarly, the lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive says the basketball game NBA 2K sold the game many refer to as the "Carlton dance" as an in-game purchase. It was sold under the name "So Fresh."

Ribeiro is not the first celebrity with a signature dance to sue the makers of the popular Fortnite game. Attorney David L. Hecht says he and his firm are also representing rapper 2 Milly and Russell Horning, also known as the "Backpack Kid," in 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.

"More plaintiffs are coming out of the woodwork each day," Hecht said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
Bolivar179565
Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 68°
Oxford
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather