The Carlton and Floss avatar emotes were quietly removed from Forza Horizon 4 (opens in new tab) in its most recent update. Developer Playground Games didn't explain their removal in the update's patch notes (opens in new tab), but it's likely that these emotes were pulled to proactively fend off potential lawsuits like the ones Epic is currently facing for using the Carlton and Floss dances in Fortnite (opens in new tab) emotes.
Last month (opens in new tab), Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro filed a lawsuit against Epic for using the Carlton dance in Fortnite while failing "to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property." Ribeiro's suit followed a near-identical lawsuit filed by rapper Terrence '2 Milly' Ferguson, who went after Epic for its allegedly unlawful use of his Milly Rock dance. As Polygon (opens in new tab) reports, Instagram star Russell Horning - AKA Backpack Kid, the ostensible creator of the Floss dance - is suing Epic for the same reason.
As previously reported, proving ownership of a dance move in court is difficult. The copyrights for this sort of thing are often unclear - Ribeiro, for example, was in the process of copyrighting the Carlton dance when he filed his suit - and video game emotes toe the line on transformative use. Even if a company as massive as Epic wasn't the defendant, winning these lawsuits wouldn't be easy.
No matter what precedent they set in the end, these legal battles are going to be long and messy. So while there's no indication that Playground Games or Forza publisher Microsoft were slapped or threatened with a lawsuit of their own, and while neither company specifically mentioned the Fortnite lawsuits, it's no surprise to see Forza Horizon 4 ditch potentially litigious emotes. I wouldn't be surprised if we see other games do the same.
Speaking of potentially litigious nonsense: you have got to see Soulja Boy's latest batch of sketchy gaming look-alikes. (opens in new tab)