In a video for MTV, South Korean rapper Psy asks the mayor of El Monte to reconsider his recent firing of 13 El Monte lifeguards who shot a spoof video of the K-Pop star's hit song "Gangnam Style."
The lifeguards say they didn't make the video during work hours — but they did do it in a city pool in their lifeguard gear, which got them dismissed.
Now Psy, who's gone from YouTube sensation to playing the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles and appearing Friday on NBC's "Today," is asking El Monte's mayor to think again:
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"If you may know me or not, but if you know me and if not, sooner you're going to know me, I'm begging you to not fire please," Psy said — at urging from an MTV News reporter.. "Because they were enjoying their souls with some other cultures, and it was even off duty."
Psy also expressed his concern and said he'd like to help — but said that he's still a rookie in the States, so maybe not quite yet. "When I become a big star here, I really want to help them out, because that's not fair," Psy said.
"What did they do? They weren't wrong? I think it was off duty — that's what I heard. They can be more flexible to each other."
El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero told the L.A. Times that the video's "a very good parody" — but that he isn't considering giving the kids back their jobs.
"If these employees wanted to produce a video for their own enjoyment and memories, they could have asked for permission and shared the video with their family and friends using a medium that is less public," Quintero told the Times in an email.
The video those lifeguards made has over 1.3 million views on YouTube. Not bad. How many does the original "Gangnam Style" by Psy have? Almost 170 million.
Watch Psy on NBC's "Today":