The mother of the young boy affectionately known as Orange Shirt Kid, whose awkward “Orange Justice” dance won over so many “Fortnite” players they convinced Epic Games to put it into the game, is now suing the studio over its inclusion.
While this is just the latest in a strong of plaintiff’s going after Epic Games for inclusion of their dance moves in “Fortnite,” what makes this particular case odd is that the “Orange Shirt Kid” submitted the dance to Epic Game’s BoogieDown contest to have the dance included in the game. When he didn’t make the cut a mass of players took to Change.Org to petition Epic to include him in the game. Eventually, much to the delight of the kid himself, they got their way.
In the rules for the contest, Epic spells out that players won’t be paid for the use of selected dance moves and also notes that it has the right to use the dance for publicity for the game. The dance was also never sold, but instead given away as part of the free battle pass. So it had to be unlocked by playing, but not through a purchase.
In the lawsuit, filed last week, there’s no mention of the BoogieDown contest, nor of the tweets — now deleted — from Orange Shirt Kid in which he submits his dance moves or celebrates Epic’s post-contest decision to add him to the game. Instead, the child’s mother, Rachel McCumbers, says that Orange Shirt Kid “exploded in popularity in or around early 2018, after he made a video of himself performing the Random and the accompany Catchphrase.”
After the dance, which the lawsuit says is called “the Random,” gained popularity, Fortnite players started a campaign to encourage Epic Games to incorporate the Random in “Fortnite,” according to the suit. It also notes that the child was the victim of “extreme cyberbullying” and that he was forced to deactivate both his Instagram and YouTube accounts.
The suit also notes that now when people perform this dance they don’t call it the Random, but rather refer to it by the name used in Fortnite: “Orange Justice.”
McCumbers is seeking unspecified damages.
Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, which filed this lawsuit, is also the law firm behind complaints filed against Epic Games by Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly, actor Alfonso Ribeiro, and Instagram star Backpack Kid over the use of their dance moves in the game.
For a deeper dive into the issues surrounding the “Fortnite” dance lawsuits, make sure to read our explainer.