At least 15 Australian miners lost their jobs recently after an online video surfaced showing them performing the 30-second "Harlem Shake" while underground in a gold mine in Western Australia. The dance has become an Internet craze.
The video was uploaded to YouTube on March 1, showing eight workers, some of whom were shirtless with at least one wearing nothing more than boots and his underwear, convulsing in the underground enclosure, gyrating against tools and sliding along the ground like a worm.
As a result of the video, Barminco, an international underground mining company, which was operating in the Agnew gold mine where the incident occurred, fired those involved – at least 15 workers, all of whom reportedly earned six-figure salaries.
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In a dismissal letter obtained by The West Australian, Barminco said it regards the performance as a stunt that affects safety concerns in the mine and described it as a breach of its "core values of safety, integrity and excellence."
The letter further states that all workers involved in the video would not be allowed "to be subcontracted by Barminco at any site domestically and globally."
"Underground mining has strict safety standards as there are accidents and fatalities. The Barminco management saw this as a breach of standards," spokesman Sven Lunsche told Reuters.
One worker, who lost his job as a result of the video and asked to remain anonymous, accused Barminco of being too heavy-handed, reported The West Australian, adding that the men were only "having a bit of fun," during a break. The worker also told the regional publication that the workers pictured shirtless in the video removed their attire because it had the Barminco name on it and that seven of those fired were not participants in the video, but merely observed the activity.
Management was made aware of the video by other co-workers who apparently informed on their colleagues, leading to an investigation.
This isn't the first time a "Harlem Shake" video – which begins with one person dancing to a Latin-techno beat before being joined by others who appear to be convulsing – have caused trouble for its participants.
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Earlier this month, students from Colorado College’s Ultimate Frisbee team made a sky-high video in which they are seen dancing in the aisle and seats of a Frontier Airlines flight to San Diego. After seeing the tape, the Federal Aviation Administration said it will be looking into the incident to see if any flight regulations were violated during the performance.
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