At least a dozen California lifeguards are receiving more attention than they anticipated, and so is their employer, the city of El Monte, Calif.
Media reports indicate 13 guards and a supervisor were fired last week for filming a what’s been dubbed a “lifeguards gone wild” music video spoof at the city’s aquatic center. The video has gone viral with nearly 500,000 hits at this writing.
The guards posted the video, a lifeguard-focused parody of the Korean pop song “Gangnam Style,” by Psy, on YouTube. They claim it was done during non-working hours and only meant to be shared amongst the guard staff.
The firing has made headlines across the nation and generated significant social media buzz. The guards have started a Facebook campaign and a Change.org petition, and according to one report plan to lobby the city council for their jobs back.
Robert Alaniz, a spokesman for the city of El Monte, released this statement regarding the termination of the part-time seasonal lifeguards and a pool manager:
“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.”