Threatening to lend an air of sordidness to its male stripper revue, two of leading bulge Channing Tatum's former dance partners have accused him of lifting their signature moves for Magic Mike, without so much as cramming a wadded-up consulting credit down their metaphorical shorts. The Tampa-based duo of Thomas "Awesome" Austin and London Steele (not to be confused with the Supreme Court justices) made the initial thrusts of their sweaty, sexy, intellectual property theft allegations at TMZ, saying that Tatum had worked alongside them during the four-month period when he was more explicitly taking his shirt off for money, and that the film borrows heavily from their personal stories—and much more seriously, from their well-honed crotch choreography. Along with claiming that he'd coined the name "Magic Mike" for one of their fellow dancers, Austin specifically singled out a move known as the "Hot Seat" that he says he invented, presumably after hours of tinkering in the lab with angle and velocity variables, only to have Tatum lift it wholesale—much like Thomas Edison stole the light bulb from Joseph Swan, then stuck his ass in his face.
Unfortunately for juries, it seems unlikely that a case for infringement will ever come to pass: Not only is it nearly impossible to copyright a unique method for dangling testicles, Tatum has already cast doubt on his accusers' credibility, calling out Austin and Steele for "trying to make money off of me since I got into this business," and avowing that everything in Magic Mike is both completely fictional and totally original. "There’s not one character that I took from my real life; this is just a world that I went into, and I had a perspective on. And we created everything from a fictional place," Tatum told The Hollywood Reporter over the weekend. However, Tatum balked at saying anything too negative about his former coworkers, adding, "They’re part of the reason why I think this world is so interesting… They’re some of the most creative people," which explains a lot about Channing Tatum. So for audiences who turn up to see Tatum et al. hump the floor this weekend, know that what you're watching is the birthing throes of originality.
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