By now, we've probably all seen someone flossing at a party or on social media. And no we're not talking about cleaning your teeth with some floss. We're talking about the signature dance move of the Backpack Kid, whose actual name is Russell Horning. After appearing in Katy Perry's SNL performance last year, Russell and his dance have gone viral. So much so that Fortnite creators started selling the dance move in the game.
At first, Russell had just been happy that his dance was featured in the game but it doesn't seem he's happy about it now. He recently filed a lawsuit against the Fortnite creators for using his dance move without his permission. That's now the third person to sue the video game for using their dance move without seeking consent. The other two people are 2Milly and Alfonso Ribeiro aka Carlton from 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Although these three are the only ones (so far) to take legal action against the company, they're not the only ones to call them out. Chance the Rapper and Donald Faison, who played Turk on "Scrubs" have also called out the company for using other people's work without asking for permission or giving them credit.
It wouldn't be the first time that a widely popular company got accused of stealing creative work from other people. It happens in pretty much all industries from music to technology and even in the beauty industry. While there's not really any denying that the dance moves in the video game are identical to their real life counterparts, sometimes the similar bodies of work are not so cut and dry. Think about makeup products. Unless they're selling counterfeit versions of the products, sometimes it's hard to tell whether two similar products are just unfortunate coincidences and how many are deliberate. With such a large quantity of brands in the beauty industry putting out products, it's inevitable that two companies might have similar ideas. Today we're going to cover some cases of copycat accusations and leave it up to you to decide whether they're just coincidence or straight up rip-offs.
First, let's go over some of the accusations against Kylie. To celebrate her 21st birthday, Kylie created a special birthday collection as she had done the previous two years. Most people were excited about it but the owner of indie brand Sheree Cosmetics wasn't too happy. She took issue with the fact that one of Kylie's liquid eyeshadows, Born To Sparkle, had the same name as an eyeshadow palette that her company came out with a year before. The owner also claimed that the idea of putting quotes on the inside of the eyeshadow palettes was copied from them. The owner ended up filing a lawsuit a few months back and is currently still ongoing.
Kylie isn't the only member of her family to be called a copycat. Kim has faced multiple accusations of copying others with her makeup line, KKW Beauty. We'll go over the most recent time she dealt with a plagiarism scandal. Back in August, Urban Decay released their latest eyeshadow palette in their Naked line called Cherry. One week later, Kim came out with her own collection: Cherry Blossom. Of course, the internet immediately noticed the similarities and went off. But given that the lines were released so close to each other, many pointed out it would have been pretty hard to design and produce an entire copycat collection in such a small window of time.
Another major makeup brand that's been accused of copying a smaller brand is Huda Beauty. This past summer, she released her Easy Bake collection that was centered around the theme of baking ingredients. Fans compared the collection and the campaign to that of Beauty Bakerie, an indie makeup line whose entire brand has been based around the same theme long before Huda's collection. The situation became more controversial after Huda Beauty stayed quiet about the whole thing for months, even after Beauty Bakerie responded on their Instagram. After Jeffree Star and hundreds of fans continued to comment on it, Huda Beauty finally responded to say that they never intentionally copied Beauty Bakerie but it seems for many, their nonreaction was proof enough.
Bella Thorne is another celebrity that came out with a makeup brand that has faced comparisons. In August of this year, the former Disney star launched a makeup line called Filthy Fangs. With two eyeshadow palettes priced at $50 and $60, people couldn't help but compare Bella's products to those of Chichi Eburu of Juvia's Place. Bella's palettes come in similarly vibrant packaging as that of the Afrocentric designs of Juvia's Place. Both of the owners acknowledged the controversy later on. Chichi from Juvia's Place said that it "seems like Bella’s team members didn’t do enough research" but she wishes them "the very best of luck" while Bella guessed that the similarities are a result of having the same manufacturers.
Another case that faced actual legal action was Too Faced and Tatcha. Tatcha is a Japanese beauty brand that sued Too Faced for copying the packaging of one of their lipsticks. The products both use a gold and white casing to hold the lipstick and even have a similar badge on it. The Japanese company started using their design two years prior to Too Faced and in the lawsuit even mention specific Instagram comments made by fans who also believe the similarities are a bit too…well similar.
Paris Hilton has also faced criticism from fans who noticed similarities between one of her makeup products and that of Nikkie Tutorials. In March of 2017, Nikkie Tutorials released a collaboration with OFRA cosmetics that featured three lip glosses and a highlighter packaged in an asymmetrical box. The Paris Hilton product also contains 3 lip glosses (of similar shades) and a highlighter packaged in an asymmetrical box. It's not very clear when Paris Hilton dropped her product because there doesn't appear to be any promotion of it on social media and it's not sold online but multiple sources state that it came out a few months after Nikkie's. Because it seemed to have a very lowkey release, it went undetected by most fans and neither Nikkie nor Paris have ever addressed the situation.
When are two similar ideas too similar? And where do you draw the line between "inspired" and stolen? When you spend a lot of time and energy working on something, only to have someone with a bigger name find more success with a similar idea, it can be frustrating, especially when these questions don't have very clear answers. With the beauty industry continuously growing, it's pretty likely that we'll continue to face these questions as more instances of copycat accusations arise. And until the law has decided what the answer is, only we can decide for ourselves. Like the saying goes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But maybe not.