Harlem Shake quake video 'bad taste'

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 11:29 01/03/2013

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A Christchurch earthquake version of the dance craze Harlem Shake has been criticised by some as bad taste and disrespectful to those who died.

Hundreds have viewed the video on YouTube which was posted online three days after the second anniversary of the February 22 earthquake.

The clip starts with a man wearing a motorbike helmet dancing in the middle of a street as people walk.

It then cuts to images of stock thrown off shelves, people fleeing shops, the collapse of Joe's Garage that killed 25-year-old chef Gregory James Tobin, and ends with the implosion of the Radio Network House.

Under the video it says "Please help rebuild Christchurch by donating here" with a link to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal website.

Two people have commented underneath the video so far, both saying they found it offensive.

"Real bad taste, considering one of the clips is one in which someone was killed, I think they're funny´╗┐ when in good taste, but this isn't funny, dislike!" one said.

"Tacky, considering how many people died. There are better ways´╗┐ to fundraise than following a gimmick."

Amy Cooney, who lost her brother Jamie Gilbert in the quake, also felt it was in "poor taste" and "sad".

Gilbert used his body to shield Cooney from the falling debris as the pair fled from the Iconic Bar.

Cooney believed many people in Christchurch would be upset by the video as everyone had been affected by the quake in some way, not just those who lost loved ones.

Mayor Bob Parker said he thought the video was "naive", "terrible" and "tasteless".

"I think particularly some of the scenes in there show events in which lives were lost and I don't think there's any redeeming features to that at all.

"It should be withdrawn," he said.

However, opinions appeared divided on the Trade Me community message board, with some people saying they found it "funny", while others thought it was "rude".

A person who opposed the video said, "It might be meant with good intentions but this is rude. All we can hope is that it gets donations".

Another poster agreed saying, "I don't like it either. Why show sum idiot thrusting away in traffic, followed by an event that killed hundreds".

While someone who supported the video said, "Anything to draw attention to the trust is fine with me. If you don't like the video, don't watch it. I found it funny and I lost people in the quake".

Another poster said: "I lost a cousin in the EQ and I really don't see how that video is inappropriate, or offensive, it was something that happened the video does not negate the memory of those who we lost. Each to their own."

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The video was posted by a person with the user name H Shake, from New Zealand.

A Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust spokeswoman said the trust had no involvement with the clip and was "a bit bemused" to see the link to their website beneath it.

She said the trust could understand that someone who had lived through the quakes or lost loved ones might find the clip "insensitive".

"Many people in New Zealand and around the world have raised funds for the appeal in all sorts of ways, and the appeal trust has been happy to support legitimate fundraising initiatives through its website and Facebook page."

The appeal, launched by Prime Minister John Key in 2011, is the official fundraiser for the recovery effort for Christchurch and the Canterbury region. To date, it has raised more than $100 million.

- The Press

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