The 14 people fired in El Monte, California, over a popular video parody will now get an independent review to decide their fate.
According to KTLA-TV, Mayor Andre Quintero called for the review after hundreds of people attended a City Council meeting Tuesday in support of the group of the pool manager and 13 lifeguards who were dismissed from the local aquatic center for posting “Lifeguard Style,” a parody of the Korean pop hit “Gangnam Style.”
The city had fired them for “a clear unauthorized use of city property” in making the video at the El Monte Aquatic Center in their lifeguard uniforms
Members of the group have defended themselves by saying they shot the video off the clock; it has gathered more than 1 million views on YouTube since being uploaded Aug. 26 by one of the participants, University of LaVerne student Michael Roa.
“We thought it was hysterical and we wanted to try something fun,” Roa told the station.
However, a city spokesperson told LA Weekly the group had been warned twice earlier this year about separate issues. Supervisors forced them to read and sign the city employee handbook in June.
According to The Los Angeles Times, local Parks and Recreation Department officials held another review meeting with the group after the video surfaced before firing them last week.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, though, hundreds of supporters filled the hall, with several addressing the council on the group’s behalf.
“Why was the punishment so severe?” one resident asked. “How does firing the lifeguards help the community, a community that watched its children grow up along with the lifeguards?”
The creator of “Gangnam Style,” Psy, has also appealed to Quintero to reverse the decision.
KTLA’s report on the group’s appeal to the city council, aired Tuesday night, can be seen below.
And here is the “Lifeguard Style” parody video that cost them their jobs: