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Fortnite has received some flack for its appropriation of dances created by other people. Scrubs star Donald Faison is the latest to voice his frustration over how a Fortnite dance cloned his “Poison” routine without recognition or reparations.
Faison and the rest of the Scrubs cast reunited at the Vulture Festival in Los Angeles over the weekend. During an audience Q&A, Faison was asked about his “Poison” dance. He created the dance on the spot for a scene during the Scrubs season 5 episode “My Half Acre.” Faison’s character Chris Turk shows off his dance moves to the song “Poison” by Bill Biv Devoe.
His moves were translated perfectly into Epic Games’ Fortnite, and the Fortnite dance named “Dance Moves” was born. When asked to perform the dance, Faison said that “if you want to see it, you can play Fortnite because they jacked that shit.”
Show creator Bill Lawrence, attempting to defuse Faison’s frustration, said, “Fortnite had to inquire about the legality of it, and it’s fine because it’s just a character dancing.” While no money exchanged hands over the dance—as U.S. copyright excludes choreographed dances—Faison’s frustration was apparent. He interrupted Lawrence, and said, “I didn’t get no money. That’s what you’re thinking though, right? Somebody got paid. No, I did not. Somebody stole that shit and it’s not mine anymore.”
Faison joins rapper 2 Milly, and Chance the Rapper in voicing frustration over the apparent appropriation of their creative works. Over the weekend, 2 Milly said that they are considering legal action against Epic Games for using his dance in the game. Unlike Faison’s “Poison” dance, 2 Milly’s moves are monetized in the game. Other dances in the game also profit off the creative works of others without recognition to the people who originally created the moves.
Faison’s frustration with the Fortnite dance are captured in several tweets from Chance the Rapper from earlier this year.
“Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them,” said Chance. “Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them.”
Epic Games did not comment at the time regarding Chance the Rapper’s tweets, and have yet to issue any response regarding 2 Milly or Faison. Other game developers have often used dance moves and other emotes from popular culture. Overwatch and World of Warcraft developer Blizzard have been doing it since the mid-2000s, and Bungie’s Destiny series is full of dance moves created by artists like Michael Jackson.
The Scrubs cast reunion has other tidbits for fans of the show, but the “Poison” Fortnite question hits at the 42:40 mark: