The Wrap – Alfonso Ribeiro is taking his fancy footwork to the courtroom. Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has filed lawsuits against the companies behind the video games Fortnite Battle Royale and the NBA 2K games, accusing them of lifting the dance, often referred to as the Carlton Dance, that he popularized on the series.
In a lawsuit filed against Epic Games in federal court in California on Monday, Ribeiro contends, “Through its unauthorized use of Ribeiro’s highly popular signature dance (‘The Dance’ or ‘Dance’) in its smash-hit, violent video game, Fortnite Battle Royale (‘Fortnite’), Epic has unfairly profited from exploiting Ribeiro’s protected creative expression and likeness and celebrity without his consent or authorization.”
According to the suit, Ribeiro created the dance in 1991 and first performed it in the “Fresh Prince” episode “Will’s Christmas Show,” and that more than two decades later, the dance “remains distinctive, immediately recognizable, and inextricably linked to Ribeiro’s identity, celebrity, and likeness.”
I don’t know why this is just becoming an issue now because people have been doing the Carlton dance for over 20 years. We literally call it “the Carlton Dance.”
So I don’t know it just seems like the statute of limitations on this probably passed around the same time Will Smith dropped Armageddon. The Carlton Dance is common law now. Normally I would say Alfonso Ribeiro has a better chance of being cast as the next Batman than winning this lawsuit, but it seems like the nerds behind Fortnite skipped class the day they were teaching intellectual property law.
“The suit says that Epic infringed on Ribeiro’s dance by selling it as an in-game purchase in Fortnite under the name “Fresh,” which players can buy to customize their avatars for use in the game.”
Pretty easy to connect those dots. People forget that Ribeiro was a legitimate bonafide professional dancer:
He just happened to also star in one of the most successful sitcoms of all time on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. So maybe the fact that Will Smith is the biggest movie star in the world while Alfonso is sitting there without a penny to pinch is starting to grind his gears. Monetize that intellectual property, Carlton.
I used to watch a TON of Fresh Prince in college because it was legit on every night at 2 am so it was the go-to. Let us never forget one of the greatest moments in Fresh Prince history when Will got hustled by some pool sharks and Uncle Phil (may he rest in peace) had to break out his 8-ball skills to save the day.
Goddamn, I can’t do long division anymore yet my brain is just filled with movie quotes and pop culture references from 20 years ago.
PS – I have been going down the Fresh Prince IMDB rabbit hole all morning and I cannot believe the timing of this discovery. We just dropped our first blog in The 300s Cinematic Universe Rewind this morning on Iron Man and scrolling through IMDB and what do I find? On the 1990s Iron Man cartoon Uncle Phil voiced the one and only War Machine. Unreal. That will win you a round of trivia at the bar one day guaranteed.