Well, here’s something weird, and it don’t look good. Much like Alfonso Ribeiro, originator of the Carlton, “Backpack Kid” Russell Horning, and rapper 2 Milly, former Omaha news anchor Matt Geiler is seeking to prevent the massively successfully Fortnite from using his viral pumpkin-headed dance meme in its game. If you don’t recognize Geiler’s name, you’ll definitely recognize his festive viral moves in the video below, which first appeared in 2006 and makes the social-media rounds every Halloween. Geiler later brought his spooky footwork to America’s Got Talent in 2017, and is now threatening to sue Epic Games over a character who he says is too similar to his gyrating pumpkin-headed mime.
According to an Epic Games complaint filed in a New York federal court on Friday, however, Geiler was paid $10,000 in August to license his dance to the company. The element in question seems to be the flaming pumpkin head that also appears when a player performs the choreography, an emote entitled “Pump It Up,” a likeness for which Geiler says he did not give Epic Games permission.
Geiler reportedly sent a cease-and-desist to Epic Games over the character, and the company’s legal filing seeks to preemptively establish that their sassy pumpkin dancer does not violate Geiler’s copyright or trademark. (You can read the gaming company’s filing here.) Just think: someone, right now, is putting on an Easter basket hat or Cupid’s diaper or groundhog ass in their basement to improvise the dumbest dance imaginable, and thus, the cycle will start anew.