Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro is not happy about Fortnite stealing his moves. The actor has reportedly sued the video game for using the "Carlton dance."
Ribeiro was the punch line of a whole lot of jokes in the 1990s simply for his enthusiastic dancing. The Carlton dance is iconic for him, so it is no wonder he was unhappy to see it programmed into a video game. According to a report by The Blast, Ribeiro filed a lawsuit against Epic Games for "unauthorized use" of the dance.
Fortnite is full of victory dances and other taunts known as "emotes." Many are so ubiquitous that the game designers get away with it, but in legal documents, Ribeiro argues that Fortnite's "Fresh" emote is "identical" to the Carlton dance. To him, the name is all the proof needed.
“The reaction from many players worldwide was immediate recognition of the emote as embodying The Dance and, in turn, Ribeiro,” reads the lawsuit. “Indeed, by naming the emote ‘Fresh,’ Epic intentionally induced a direct connection between the in-game purchase and the show where The Dance started, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That connection implied an endorsement of that in-game purchase by Ribeiro.”
There is no word on what exactly Ribeiro is seeking in damages, though his accusations go far beyond his own steps. The actor points to another lawsuit filed by rapper 2 Milly, where he makes the case that Fortnite used his "Milly Rock" dance without authorization. He indicates other emotes that mimic Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" dance and Donald Faison's "Turk dance" from Scrubs.
Fortnite has “consistently sought to exploit African-American talent... by copying their dances and movements and sell them through emotes,” claims Ribeiro's lawsuit. Ribeiro has filed a similar suit against the game NBA2K for its "So Fresh" dance.
The Carlton dance has stuck with Ribeiro all throughout his career, even after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air came to an end in 1996. The actor won Season 19 of Dancing With The Stars alongside his partner, Witney Carson. The two snapped into the Carlton dance on stage, to the delight of fans and judges.
Beyond that, the Carlton dance has survived in the form of countless viral memes. For just about any famous image, there is a version where fans have photoshopped Carlton swinging his arms in the forefront.
Ribeiro is the host of America's Funniest Home Videos, which airs on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.