One of the more bizarre moments of this year’s Epic v. Apple trial was when proceedings got derailed by an exchange about whether Peely the banana — a recurring Fortnite character — should be expected to wear clothes in court. Apple suggested Peely ought to wear clothes in federal court and showed him in a tuxedo; Epic argued the suit was unnecessary. And you better believe the judge’s ruling, released today, has come to a final conclusion.
With respect to the appropriateness of Peely’s “dress,” the Court understood Apple merely to be “dressing” Peely in a tuxedo for federal court, as jest to reflect the general solemnity of a federal court proceeding. As Mr. Weissinger later remarked, and with which the Court agrees, Peely is “just a banana man,” additional attire was not necessary but informative.
The moment in question came on day six of the trial, when Apple’s attorney was cross-examining Matthew Weissinger, Epic’s VP of marketing, in order to offer a tutorial of how exactly Fortnite works. During the exchange, Apple’s attorney noted that they’d chosen to show Peely in his “Agent Peely” guise, since “We thought it better to go with the suit than the naked banana, since we are in federal court this morning.”
Now, obviously, this was a joke. It was a small lighthearted moment during an antitrust-focused court case. But after Apple criticized Epic for hosting the Itch.io storefront and with it, its “so-called adult games,” Epic’s attorney simply couldn’t let Apple get away with implying that its naked banana was inappropriate.
“If we could just put on the screen a picture of Peely — is there anything inappropriate about Peely without clothes?” Epic’s attorney asked Weissinger two hours later.
“It’s just a banana man,” Weissinger was forced to respond. (NB: We originally transcribed this exchange as “just a banana, ma’am,” but the court’s transcription is final).
In the end, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ judgement sensibly points out what basically everyone understood at the time: Peely’s “just a banana man” and “additional attire was not necessary.” Checkmate, Apple.
You can check out the relevant section for yourself on page eight of the document below. Neither Epic nor Apple have publicly stated whether they plan to appeal this portion of the judgement.
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