Alfonso Ribeiro is suing the makers of “Fortnite” over the use of a dance the actor made popular on the TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
According to a copy of the complaint obtained by USA TODAY, Ribeiro alleges Epic Games used his dance under the name “Fresh,” which players could then purchase to customize their characters in “Fortnite.”
The complaint said although the dance is “misleadingly labeled” in the game, players instantly recognize is as “The Carlton Dance,” named after Ribeiro’s character in “The Fresh Prince.”
“Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh,'” said Ribeiro’s attorney David Hecht in a statement. “Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property.”
Epic Games said they would not comment on pending litigation.
Ribeiro also filed a suit against Take-Two Interactive over use of the dance in the video game “NBA 2K16.”
Separate lawsuits have been filed against both Epic and Take-Two by Russell Horning, also known as The Backpack Kid, over the use of a dance called The Floss in both “Fortnite” and both “NBA 2K18” and “NBA 2K19.”
The same law firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, is representing Brooklyn-based rapper 2 Milly, who is suing Epic for using the dance “Milly Rock” in “Fortnite.”
“They never even asked for my permission,” said 2 Milly in a statement last month.
The various dances available in “Fortnite” are part of several options players select to customize their characters in the video game which has transformed into a pop culture phenomenon, with those dances appearing everywhere from wedding dance floors to NFL end zones following a touchdown.
Players can use in-game currency to purchase the dances, also called emotes, which has generated enormous revenue for Epic. To date, Epic Games has made at least $1.2 billion on V-Bucks, the currency used in “Fortnite” to purchase the dances, as well as skins and other in-game gear.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
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