Russell Horning, the pubescent pioneer behind the cultural carnage of the ‘floss‘, is suing the company behind his favourite game.
The 17-year-old, fresh-faced Lawrenceville native made a bizarre online breakthrough back in 2016 with the advent of the “floss”. A distinctive dance which muddles the mal-coordinated among us, the floss catapulted the unassuming teenager into viral stardom.
To begin with, Horning gained a very 21st century style cult following, with online fans the world over obsessed with the peculiar and self-deprecating style of the floss. From posting it to his limited audience of 393 followers and waking up the next day to over 5000, it wasn’t long before Rihanna herself was reposting his videos.
At this point, there’s perhaps no better benchmark of having broken through to the US mainstream than an appearance on Saturday Night Live. And – after being approached by Katy Perry with a contract for an SNL performance – that’s exactly where Russell Horning found himself. Flossing on television with a cold, expressionless stare.
It is, indeed, a worrying indictment of the times we find ourselves in. The more critical among us could argue that Katy Perry’s career has been on a swift downward spiral ever since she released a song in 2010 whose opening line was “Do you ever feel/ Like a plastic bag?”… But we’re not here to pass judgement on that.
After having ridden this bizarre socials skyrocket to a floss performance in front of 13 million live viewers, Horning’s trademark dance was then co-opted by Epic Games’ ‘Fortnite’. In terms of popular culture clout – taking into account Fortnite’s user stats of around 80 million gamers per month – this merging of floss and game constitutes a meeting of unstoppable force and immovable object.
However, Horning has grown unhappy at Fortnite’s profiting from his ingenuity, and is now seeking a slice for himself by suing Epic Games. This decision has come as a surprise to many, after he’s previously said on video that he loves playing the game. In the below video by Buzzfeed, the teenager judges people’s attempts at flossing, saying:
“The dance has gotten bigger and bigger ever since, so it’s pretty cool that they put it in.”
For Epic Games, this is another unwelcome blow after both Alfonso Ribeiro and ‘2 Milly’ pledged to take legal action against the company for not having been granted permission to use their trademark moves.
FEATURED IMAGE FROM EPICGAMES.COM