There’s a new twist in Alfonso Ribeiro’s lawsuit against the video games Fortnite and NBA 2K19. TMZ reports that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star admitted to the site — on camera, in 2012 — that he stole the very moves which he is suing the video games for using.
The video games Fornite and NBA 2K19, created by Epic Games and Visual Concepts respectively, are hugely popular — and have introduced people to a slew of new dance moves that gamers can access during the games.
But Alfonso Ribeiro isn’t a fan. The actor played Carlton Banks in the 1990s sitcom TheFresh Prince of Bel-Air and was known for his swinging dance move called “The Carlton.” During the show, Carlton would turn on the song “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones and get down, much to the amusement of his on-screen family members.
Now, Ribeiro is suing the video game developers for using his likeness and ripping off his dance without paying him for it. The 47-year-old claims that his signature dance move can be found under the emote “Fresh,” which is an animation that players can purchase in Fortnite. His dance can also be found in NBA 2K19 under “So Fresh.”
But TMZ says that on April 23, 2012, the America’s Funniest Home Videos host admitted that he took the moves from Courteney Cox and Eddie Murphy. According to Ribeiro, he wanted to create a dance for his character that looked like the kind of dance a white person would do. So he took Cox’s moves from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” music video, combined them with Eddie Murphy’s signature “White Man’s Dance,” and added a little of himself into the mix.
— Complex (@Complex) December 17, 2018
Ribeiro says that he is currently in the process of copyrighting the dance, which he also used during his season of Dancing With the Stars.
“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,” said David Hecht, Ribeiro’s attorney. “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 isn’t the only celebrity suing the gaming companies for using their signature dance moves. The creator of “The Floss,” known as Backpack Kid, is also suing the makers of Fortnite, and Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly sued the creators for swiping his 2014 dance move called “Swipe It.”