The 'Floss' kid jumps on Fortnite lawsuit wagon over dance moves
The Backpack Kid follows actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who sued Epic Games for allegedly stealing the Carlton, and rapper 2 Milly.
Abrar Al-HeetiVideo producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
ExpertiseAbrar has spent her career at CNET breaking down the latest trends on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, while also reporting on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood and Silicon Valley.Credentials
Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Another dancer has boogied into court with a lawsuit against Epic Games, alleging the
developer pilfered his dance moves for its super-popular video game.
On Tuesday, the mother of Russell Horning, also known as the Backpack Kid, sued Epic for turning his dance move, "The Floss," into an emote players can buy in the shoot 'em up game without seeking permission first. The complaint says Fortnite: Battle Royale introduced his signature shimmy as an emote -- an animated move players use to express delight -- in the game's second season pass. Players could either earn "The Floss" as a reward or purchase it for about $5, the complaint says.
Horning created the dance two years ago when he was 16 and shot to fame after a performance on SNL. The suit seeks a restraining order that prevents Epic from using his dance move, as well as damages payment.
Epic declined comment on Horning's lawsuit.
Horning isn't the only dancer to seeking to bust a move on Epic in court. On Monday, Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, sued Epic for allegedly using the "Carlton Dance" without his permission. Earlier this month, rapper 2 Milly also sued for using his "Milly Rock" dance.
Fortnite features an emote called "Fresh" that resembles Ribeiro's moves. You can see the similarities in the video below.
"It is widely recognized that Mr. Ribeiro's likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite," law firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, which is representing all three dancers, said in a statement. "Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property."
Ribeiro is seeking "his fair and reasonable share of profits" that Epic earned by using the dance, and wants Epic to stop using the dance, the law firm added. Ribeiro is in the process of copyrighting the dance, according to the complaint.
The law firm representing the actor is "pursuing similar claims" against NBA 2K developer Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts on Ribeiro's behalf, it said in its statement.
Epic and Take-Two Interactive, which owns Visual Concepts, declined to comment on Ribeiro's suit.
First published Dec. 17 at 3:34 p.m. PT. Update, 4:39 p.m.: Adds that Take-Two Interactive declined to comment. Update, Dec. 18 at 9:33 a.m.: Adds that Epic declined to comment. Update, Dec. 18 at 1:48 p.m.: Adds the Backpack Kid's lawsuit against Epic Games over his dance move, the floss.