Firm responds to quitting video

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Thu, Oct 03, 2013 - Page 3

A YouTube video made by an American woman to tell her bosses at Next Media Animation that she was quitting quickly went viral after it was uploaded on Saturday last week, drawing more than 8 million hits as of press time yesterday.

Marina Shifrin’s An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West’s Gone shows Shifrin dancing in an empty office, while the subtitles explain that she is at work at 4am — and she is quitting.

“For almost two years I’ve sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job. And my boss only cares about quantity and how many views each video gets,” the subtitles say.

Next Media Animation responded on Tuesday by releasing a 94-second parody of Shifrin’s video, titled An Interpretive Dance From Next Media Animation Set To Kanye West’s Gone.

In it Shifrin’s former colleagues and supervisors (including former Taipei Times staffers Michael Logan, Richard Hazeldine and Meggie Lu) are seen dancing in the office while the subtitles read: “We’re in the middle of an 8-hour shift and we’re STILL at work.”

“We eat our lunches at our desks because there aren’t restaurants around,” the subtitles say.

“But hey since we have a rooftop pool and sauna we’ll call it even,” the subtitles go on to say before ending with “we want to wish Marina well and let everyone know… We’re HIRING.”

The company’s video had more than 280,450 hits at press time.

A more serious response to Shifrin’s video by Mark Simon, a commercial director at Next Media Animation, was published on the New York-based Web site, which had earlier reposted her video. He rejected the implication in her video that the company is a sweatshop.

“We have 600 employees and I have not one outstanding case in labor tribunal. That is no small feat in Taiwan,” Simon, who said he had hired Shifrin nine months ago, wrote in an e-mail posted on the Web site.

Simon said Shrifrin made US$42,000 per year for a 40-hour, five-day work week. He said he was not trying to “slam” her, but wanted to help some of the other managers who worked more closely with her understand why she had just “cashiered” them.

“I don’t think she meant for it to be seen as so harsh, but we are getting some nasty attacks on our managers, who she says she respects,” Simon wrote.

Media outlets and Web sites around the world have picked up on Shrifrin’s video, while the company’s response has been carried by CNN, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Web site and other outlets.

There has been no explanation for the discrepancy in the length of time Shrifrin worked for the firm. In her video, she mentions two years, but Simon wrote nine months.

Next Media Animation’s videos, which feature computer-animated recreations or humorous interpretations of current events, have become popular with media outlets worldwide, as well as on YouTube.