Fortnite has been having a rough time lately. Rapper 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against Epic Games over a dance move available in the game this month. Yesterday, it was revealed The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro also filed a lawsuit.
Now, Backpack Kid (aka Russell Horning) is suing Fortnite over the use of his floss dance move that went viral after Katy Perry’s May 2017 Saturday Night Live performance.
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The 16-year-old’s mother filed a lawsuit on his behalf, accusing both Fortnite and NBA 2K of stealing the dance, according to TMZ.
Fortnite released a Season 2 Battle Pass in December 2017, which included the Floss emote. Once players win, they can do the dance.
TMZ spoke to Horning in June 2018 where they asked him about the emote. At the time, he said he felt like he should be getting royalties, but also stated, “It’s not that big of a deal, I’m just glad it’s in the game.”
Horning is suing for “unspecified damages” and is asking a judge to stop Epic Games and NBA 2K from stealing his moves.
Horning is represented by Carolynn Kyungwon Beck and David Hecht of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP. Hecht is also representing 2 Milly and Ribeiro.
You can check out Horning’s original floss performance and the Fortnite emote of the same name below.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro’s lawsuit against Fortnite
Ribeiro’s most iconic role is as Carlton Banks in ‘90s sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. With the role came the famous Carlton dance, which Ribeiro is now claiming Fornite recreated without permission.
According to TMZ, Ribeiro’s suit points to Fortnite’s Fresh emote as mimicking his iconic move. The suit also alleges he’s in the midst of copyrighting the move.
You can see a comparison of the two moves below.
Ribeiro is represented by David Hecht of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP who, again, is also representing Horning and 2 Milly.
“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,” Hecht tells TMZ.
“Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh,’ Hecht continues. “Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property.”
TMZ also states Ribeiro filed an identical suit against 2K Games, the company that makes the NBA 2K series.
2 Milly’s lawsuit against Fortnite
Back in November, 2 Milly claimed game makers stole his dance move. Many know the rapper for his viral dance craze called the “Milly Rock”. Other artists and athletes have used it, and now it appears in Fortnite.
“Everybody was just like, ‘Yo, your dance is in the game,’” the rapper told CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.
However, it’s not the fact that his dance move is in the game that 2 Milly takes issue with. The move, renamed “Swipe It” in the game, was part of season 5’s “Battle Pass” that players could purchase for $10.
“They actually sell that particular move. It’s for purchase. That’s when I really was like… oh nah, this can’t go on too long.”
2 Milly hired Hecht a few weeks later to seek legal action against Fornite and Epic Games.
According to a representative at Epic Games, the Battle Pass that included the “Swipe It” emote was removed due to season 5 coming to an end and will never be sold or made available again. However, users who had previously unlocked or purchased the “Battle Pass” will still have access to it.
Regardless, the firm states a large portion of their $1 billion revenue comes from in-game downloadable content such as the Milly Rock-inspired emote.
“I was never compensated by Epic Games for their use of the ‘Milly Rock,’’ the rapper says. “They never even asked for my permission. I am thrilled to have David Hecht and his team at Pierce Bainbridge representing me to help right this wrong.”
The firm representing 2 Milly has pursued legal action against Epic Games in the past.
“This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has brazenly misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent,” Hecht says. “Our client Lenwood ‘Skip’ Hamilton is pursuing similar claims against Epic for use of his likeness in the popular ‘Cole Train’ character in the Gears Of Wars video game franchise. Epic cannot be allowed to continue to take what does not belong to it.”
Representatives for rapper 2 Milly officially filed a lawsuit against Epic Games in December.