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El Monte lifeguards fired for 'Gangnam style' video spoof

September 11, 2012 | 11:50 am

Thirteen El Monte lifeguards and a supervisor who were fired after making a video spoof of a Korean pop star's song say they will go before the City Council and fight for their jobs.

The employees' video, "Lifeguard Style," is a takeoff on "Gangnam Style," the YouTube sensation from Korean rapper Psy that has garnered more than 146 million views.

"We thought it was hysterical and we wanted to try something fun," said Michael Roa, a University of La Verne student who's been working at the El Monte Aquatic Center for seven years.

He edited and posted the video on Aug. 26. "We were trying out some dance moves," he said. "We didn't think we did anything offensive."

Roa and his co-workers, college-age students, are getting offers of legal help, but will hold off until Sept. 18 to petition the City Council. A Facebook page they launched, "Bring Back the 14 El Monte Lifeguards," had won the support of more than 10,300 fans as of early Tuesday.

"There was no due process in terms of what happened to us," Roa, 22, said.

Last week, supervisors in the city's recreation department called in Roa and the others -- including a manager who did not appear in the video -- asking them to review pages from a staff manual before dismissal, according to Roa and lifeguard Yvonne Tam, a UC Santa Barbara student. 

"At least give us a chance to speak and voice our opinions," Tam, 20, said. She said she's hoping the group will have that opportunity in front of the council.

"There was a clear unauthorized use of city resources and property, including the use of city-issued uniforms during the making of this unauthorized video," city officials said in a released statement.


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-- Anh Do

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