[Update, 5:30 p.m.: LA Weekly reports that the fired lifeguards were in trouble long before the video: “El Monte spokesman Robert Alaniz told us that this group of lifeguards had been warned twice previously about other issues, beginning in early 2012, and that they had been told in June to read and sign an employee handbook that lays down the rules.”]
Are El Monte city officials the most humorless bunch of local politicians? They’re certainly in the running. After 14 lifeguards created “Lifeguard Style,” a spoof of the wildly popular Korean music video “Gangnam Style,” they were summarily fired. The reason? They used city property in the unapproved video, which they shot at a city pool while wearing their lifeguard uniforms. Tonight, the fired lifeguards will go in front of the El Monte city council to ask for their jobs back.
“Lifeguard Style” is tame, with the lifeguards doing the goofy “invisible horse” dance that South Korean rapper Psy — who led a surprise flash mob at the Grove the other day — popularized in the original video. The city’s actions have sparked something of a backlash with more than 14,000 fans liking the Facebook page “Bring back the 14 El Monte Lifeguards.” Even Psy himself made a public plea for the city to rehire the lifeguards. The two videos, Psy’s original and the aquatic spoof, are below, so you can compare for yourself.