California Aquatic Center fires 13 lifeguards and one manager for making ‘Gangnam Style’ parody video on city property
It seems that not everyone appreciates humor on the job. Fourteen employees in Southern California were fired Wednesday after recording a spoof video of South Korean pop star Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” The El Monte Aquatic Center lifeguards filmed their video, “Lifeguard Style,” off the clock, on their lunch break while waiting for their next shift to begin. They recreated scenes from the comedic hit video, parodying the K-pop rapper’s famous “horse-riding dance,” in which he imitates the movement of an equestrian. But management did not get the humor and called it “inappropriate and disgusting,” according to a petition supporting the lifeguards on Change.org. Alexander Huerta, an employee for seven years, thinks management overreacted when it fired the lifeguards and manager Gabriel Gonzalez, who did not even appear in the video. “I strongly believe that the termination,” Huerta told NBC, “was unjust, overexaggerated, and could have been handled more effectively. The city issued a statement noting that the employees signed an agreement not to use city property, which includes their bathing suits, for private use. “The video was made just to have fun memories before we go back to college,” one lifeguard Juliet told KTLA.The video has garnered more than 100,000 views on YouTube and garnered online support. The lifeguards created a Facebook page, “Bring back the 14 El Monte Lifeguards,” protesting their termination. The page has close to 2,000 likes. “So sorry,” a supporter posted on the Facebook page. “We seem to have mostly lost our sense of humor and ability to have fun while at work. Cannot believe you were fired for this video … You should all get your jobs back!” The lifeguards are also inviting supporters to attend an El Monte city council meeting on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.