‘Fresh Prince’ Star Alfonso Ribeiro Says Fortnite, NBA 2K Makers Ripped off His Carlton Dance in New Lawsuits

Actor says that dance he created in 1991 is being unfairly exploited by video game companies

Alfonso Ribeiro

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.”

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.

“Epic did not seek, much less obtain, Ribeiro’s consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or creative [sic] a derivate work based upon The Dance or Ribeiro’s likeness,” the suit, which alleges copyright infringement, unfair advantage and other counts, reads.

Ribeiro is asking for a restraining order against Epic barring them from using the dance, as well as unspecified damages.

On Monday, Ribeiro also filed a similar lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive, 2K Sports and 2K Games, making similar accusations in regard to the NBA 2K line of games.

TheWrap has reached out to Epic, Take-Two and 2K for comment on the lawsuits.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.