Ribeiro’s “Carlton Dance” has been a fixture in pop-culture for years. If for some reason you’ve never seen it, here’s a quick video:
And here’s the dance emote from Fortnite:
As you can tell, the two dances are identical. It doesn’t help that the name of the dance emote is called “Fresh”, a clear reference to the hit series. David Hecht, Ribeiro’s attorney, told TMZ:
“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.”
“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.”
Rapper 2 Milly has also recently filed a claim against Epic Games over a dance move. He claims that a Fortnite emote titled, “Swipe It”, was directly lifted from his “Milly Rock” dance move. 2 Milly and Alfonso Ribeiro share the same law firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.
TMZ has reached out to Epic Games but they were told that the game studio does not comment on ongoing litigation.
Along with Epic Games, Alfonso Ribeiro has also filed a suit against 2k Games with the same claims. The NBA 2k series has a similar dance featured in their games as well.
It appears that determining the legal owner of a dance is a tricky situation. At this time, Ribeiro is in the process of obtaining the rights to the “Carlton Dance”. If he does obtain the rights, he would definitely have a better case against Epic Games and 2k.
We’ll keep you updated on this situation as we get more information.