Street Man Fighter contestant Vata, a WDBZ crew member, was recently hit with plagiarism allegations and netizens believe ATEEZ‘s Wooyoung has made his response to the allegations known.
Street Man Fighter is a new Korean competition program with dance crews battling each week for the chance to be named Korea’s best dance crew.
The show premiered on August 23, 2022, and has already faced criticism over a variety of issues, from netizens questioning voting decisions made by the judges (BoA, Super Junior‘s Eunhyuk, and 2PM‘s Wooyoung), to accusations of favoritism towards specific dance crews, comments by producers being perceived as sexist, and more.
The most recent controversy surrounds plagiarism accusations against Vata, a member and leader of the WDBZ dance crew. The Street Man Fighter contestants were challenged to come up with choreography for Zico‘s song “New Thing” (Prod. by Zico and ft. Homies).
Vata’s choreography was chosen as the winner of the challenge, and since the dance was released, it has become the latest dance challenge craze.
The popular dance has been covered by members of NCT Dream, ITZY, ENHYPEN, and Fromis_9, among others.
The intro to Vata’s dance challenge began to gain attention for its close similarity to the choreography in the chorus of ATEEZ‘s song, “Say My Name,” which was released in 2019. The dance for “Say My Name” was created by famous choreographers Anze Skrube and Josh Smith.
Netizens were initially divided about whether or not the move was copied. Some felt the dance moves were too similar to be a coincidence, while others acknowledged it was similar but didn’t feel it could be considered plagiarism.
At this time, neither Vata nor the WDBZ dance crew has addressed the accusations; it has been noted that they excluded the intro from their official “New Thing” dance video filmed for the show.
While the dance team has not made a statement, netizens believe ATEEZ, who, aside from working with Anze Skrube and Josh Smith on multiple songs, had also taken dance classes from Anze Skrube, made a “silent” statement that spoke volumes.
At 2022 KCON Saudi Arabia, ATEEZ had a dance break where each member showcased their dance skills.
When it came to member Wooyoung’s turn in the center, he seemingly took advantage of the opportunity to possibly send a message. During his turn, he was seen using a “biting” hand sign that’s long been used in the breakdancing community to call someone out for copying or “biting” moves from another dancer without giving respect or credit due to the creator. Right after doing the hand sign, he did the signature chorus dance move from “Say My Name.”
that move he did at the beginning, dancers use it to indicate its copied/stolen. 5000 used it in smf during one of the battles. wooyoung doing this move and then doing the driving dance. they know 😭 pic.twitter.com/GX1uFaL5qO
— dee (@azfxon) October 9, 2022
The gesture is meant to represent a bite, with the person bringing the forearms together in a biting motion.
The “biting” hand sign was also seen on Street Man Fighter after being used by dancer 5000 (also known as Ocheon).
someone noticed that during 2:2 battle vs 1million, ocheon did a biting sign. it implies that the opponent has stolen/plagiarised either a move or a sequence of moves, that means they're not creative or not original.
this sign used alot in battle#Mbitious #StreetManFighter #SMF pic.twitter.com/KXCnPgIKm7
— 오천LY🐱 (@ocheonly) August 31, 2022
Fans noticed this wasn’t the first time Wooyoung made the gesture; he also made the “biting” hand sign after appearing to do another part of the “New Thing” dance, which netizens believe seemed to make Wooyoung’s intent even clearer.
HOLD ON HE CALLED THEM OUT TWICE he was doing the new things/saebbing choreo and then did the copy move. how did i never notice 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/n4knhf3C2n
— dee (@azfxon) October 9, 2022
Netizens believe that although ATEEZ hasn’t said anything, they’re making their stance clear in support of their close partnership with Anze Skrube and Josh Smith.
ateez was really smart and hot for performing say my name in front of a crowd this big while the driving dance challenge is a viral trend rn in south korea so better wake up and give the credit where it’s due 😌 pic.twitter.com/SB2rWUVnlx
— Ay⩜⃝ 🔥민기's (@mingaya_TEEZ) October 9, 2022
— Skyva (@alwaysteez) October 9, 2022
WOOYOUNG IS A KING FOR DOING THIS, TELL THEM pic.twitter.com/jg3xwR34fS
— 🏴 (@NotBonkyP) October 9, 2022
Check out the article below for more about the plagiarism allegations: