Actor Alfonso Ribeiro has dropped his lawsuit against Fortnite developer Epic Games and 2K Sports for using his signature “Carlton” dance. The Carlton Fortnite dance lawsuit was filed in December 2018 when the actor claimed both companies used the dance he created was taken and sold by those companies.
Ribeiro dropped the lawsuit against Epic and 2K Sports on Thursday, March 7 according to The Blast. His case against the game developers was dealt a blow last month when his attempt to trademark the dance was denied by the U.S. Copyright Office. As a result, it appears that Ribeiro has dropped the suit entirely. A document detailing the Copyright Office’s decision read, “the combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work.”
The “Fresh” emote in Fortnite is a near one-to-one replica of Ribeiro’s “Carlton” dance from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ribeiro first performed the dance in an episode from 1992, but it gained popularity after a season 3 episode featured him dancing to “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. The Fresh Prince actor is one of many who have sued Epic Games over using their dance moves without permission.
Rapper 2 Milly, “backpack kid,” “orange shirt kid,” and most recently two former University of Maryland basketball players have sued Epic Games over dance emotes in Fortnite. Scrubs star Donald Faison vented his frustration at Fortnite using his dance moves as the default dance emote, but never sued the company.
Following these lawsuits, Microsoft pulled two dance emotes from Forza Horizon 4 mimicking the Carlton and Floss dances. These emotes were pulled from the game even though Microsoft had not been sued for their inclusion. The company might have been being overly cautious, but as dance copyright claims get denied, nothing may end up coming from these lawsuits. Fortnite continues to have the various dance emotes in the game, and it doesn’t look like Epic will pull the emotes anytime soon.