Former “Copycat” Comments Against Dancer Vata Arise Amid Backlash For Response To Plagiarism Accusations

1MILLION was allegedly among the accusers.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the ongoing plagiarism accusations against Street Man Fighter contestant Vata for his “New Thing” dance choreography challenge.

For a quick recap, the dancer was accused of copying the “driving” dance move from ATEEZ‘s “Say My Name” choreography, which was created by Anze Skrube, Josh Smith, and Johnny Erasme. ATEEZ member Wooyoung seemingly made a subtle call-out about the plagiarism, and Anze Skrube himself also made a personal statement on the issue recently.

Earlier today, Vata finally made a response to the accusations by denying any plagiarism on his part.

This is Vata.

I thought this would be a cold wind that would breeze by, but I am writing this to stop the misunderstandings.

When I first heard the song, I thought of the wilderness and so I made the intro of riding a horse or motorcycle. That’s why in the beginning, there is a motion of kicking to start the engine and a motion of getting off the bike. These are parts of one move that transition from one to the other.

I think the choreography its being compared to has a different transition and means something different entirely.

As someone who loves the dance culture, I believe it is at its best when the artist and dancer respect one another. It saddens me to see that this isn’t taking place.

Regardless of the reason, I apologize to viewers of Street Man Fighter and to those who root for We Dem Boyz for any controversy that had occurred on my behalf. I will repay you by putting on a better stage.

— Vata

Vata | Street Man Fighter

His lack of accountability and seemingly shady response towards the people asking for an apology has been met with scathing responses from both ATINYs and netizens as a whole.

They even got “ApologizeToJosh” trending on social media in response to Vata’s statement, continuing to demand proper credit for “Say My Name” choreographer Josh Smith.

Amid the backlash against the Street Man Fighter contestant, further accusations of plagiarism and copying other dancers have arisen against Vata and his crew, We Dem Boyz.

During the first episode of Street Man Fighter, the crews on the show were allowed to “vandalize” each other’s rooms. A photo of a flag that was allegedly in the room belonging to We Dem Boyz was shared after the vandalism occurred, and what was written on it may be suggesting past behavior of the crew and its members.

The alleged flag for Vata’s crew, We Dem Boyz, on Street Man Fighter

The comments on the flag include:

  • (Written on the paper) “Melvin copycat ㅋㅋㅋ” and “JBLAZE copycat”
  • (the comment circled with the hearts) “JBLAZE copycat”
  • “This is SMF but they said they’re going to do Street Boy Fighter after!!”
  • “Tristan copycat”
  • “We Dem Kid”
  • “Some people might think you made Fear of God”
  • “Some people might think you also made Essentials”
  • “If you mess with us”
  • (knife) “You need to practice dancing. ‘You should dance the same dance at least, you guys are a team'”
  • “Vata [cut off] Melvin copycat”

While multiple accusations of copying choreography from other dancers are made against the crew and Vata himself, one of the more notable names mentioned is JBLAZE. JBLAZE is, in fact, Johnny Erasme, one of the previously mentioned choreographers that helped create the dance for “Say My Name”.

Allegedly among the accusers was 1MILLION, one of the more professional and well-known crews performing on the show as they are from the famous 1MILLION Dance Studio.

Since this was done earlier in the season, the comments made during this “vandalizing” likely have no correlation to those made against Vata more recently. However, if the accusations of past instances of copying other choreographers’ dances is true, then it potentially shows a pattern of behavior against the We Dem Boyz members.

Of course, this is all still alleged at this time, as the exact context of what was written on the flag is unknown. What fans and netizens really want at this point is just a more acceptable response from Vata in regard to the “Say My Name” plagiarism accusations.

We sincerely hope that ATEEZ’s members and choreographers are doing well despite this ongoing issue.