Add Backpack Kid to the growing list of people who are suing Epic Games over their use of dances in their popular, and immensely successful title Fortnite. Yesterday, news came out that Fresh Prince of Bel Air star Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton in the iconic 90s sitcom, is suing the company for the use of his Carlton dance. Rapper 2 Milly announced his intentions to sue for the game’s use of his Milly Rock dance.
Russell Horning (Backpack Kid) went viral when Rhianna shared one of his dance videos, “The Russell”, on her Instagram page back in 2016. He received more buzz when he appeared on an episode of Saturday Night Live with Katy Perry performing the dance, which is known as “The Floss” emote in Fortnite.
According to TMZ, Russell’s mother has filed the lawsuit on behalf of her 16-year old son, going after Epic Games for unspecified damages, and they are in the process of copyrighting the dance, which may prove to be difficult.
“Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.’ Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property,” Ribeiro’s attorney, David Hecht stated.
Interestingly, Hecht appears to be a part of the legal team representing Russell, along with Carolynn Kyungwon, who are both with the legal firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht.
Epic Games is in for quite the legal fight, and it appears more and more people are taking them to task.