14 Lifeguards Fired Over Gangnam Style Parody They Made On Their Breaks

By Megan O'Neill 

A group of El Monte lifeguards have gone viral with ‘Lifeguard Style,’ a Gangnam Style remake shot at the pool.  The video has racked up nearly 1 million views, but these views came at a price—all 14 lifeguards that took part in the video have been fired and told unofficially that their video was “disgusting” and an “embarrassment to the city of El Monte.”

The video, which the lifeguards claim was shot while they were “off the clock during breaks and free time,” shows the lifeguards at the El Monte Aquatic Center in their uniforms, dancing along to ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy, the latest YouTube sensation.

Alexander Huerta, one of the fired guards, told CBS, “We just felt it was really unfair and not really grounds for termination.”  Another fired lifeguard, Daniel Surmenian, added, “I thought maybe a write up or a suspension, not that I would be asked to leave.”  The guards had no idea there would be such negative repercussions.

A spokesperson for the city of El Monte, Robert Alaniz, released the following statement in regards to the termination of the lifeguards:

“While the City of El Monte cannot comment on the specifics of this situation because it involves personnel issues, we can say that each of the employees dismissed were either part-time and/or seasonal at-will employees, who upon their employment, were each required to acknowledge and sign an Acknowledgement that states that they would ‘under no circumstances use any city property for his/her own private use or benefit.  Such unauthorized use shall be cause for disciplinary action.’

“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.  The City maintains that it holds all employees to a higher standard.”

In addition to planning to petition the city for their jobs back at the next city council meeting, the fired lifeguards have launched a Facebook page to Bring back the 14 El Monte Lifeguards, as well as a petition on Change.org.

What’s your take on the situation and the way the city of El Monte dealt with it?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  Oh and check out our Gangnam Style post for more great parodies, remixes and remakes of Psy’s hit!

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.