NEW YORK—A 17-year-old student who attempted to organize a mass “Harlem Shake”—a type of dance craze that has turned into a kind of unavoidable meme plastered across YouTube and other websites—was arrested by authorities.
Hundreds of kids jammed into the lobby of the Forest Hills High School last Friday to film the mass incident. School officials, however, were not too pleased with the development and dispersed them.
Sources familiar with the matter told the DNAinfo website that Arnis Mehmetaj, a senior at the high school, was arrested for organizing the event. Mehmetaj was said to have promoted the “Harlem Shake” event on his Facebook page, inviting more than 500 students to attend. He was charged with disorderly conduct and received a five-day suspension.
“It was supposed to be a harmless thing,” an unnamed student told the website. “It was supposed to be 30 seconds of fun.” The student added that officials knew the flash mob would take place before it happened.
A video uploaded to YouTube shows students crammed into the lobby, chattering loudly, cheering, and attempting to record the incident.
“I think this Friday was the worst Friday the school ever experienced,” the student added.
The Facebook page, apparently organized to promote the event, said after Mehmetaj’s arrest that he “is free” and thanked the others for supporting him. “Let us continue this page to support him and show him we care about him,” it added.
The “Harlem Shake” appeared to have begun early this year on YouTube and has been replicated by numerous others. According to a YouTube trend-watching website, more than 4,000 “Harlem Shake” videos were uploaded per day as of Feb. 11. By then, these videos were already watched some 44 million times.
But in another video uploaded several days ago, residents of Harlem say the viral dance craze bears no resemblance to the “real” Harlem Shake.
“I know the Harlem shake but that ain’t the Harlem Shake,” one man said in the video. Another said, “That’s not the shake! Ah, no good!”
“I think they’re misinformed,” said another. “They’re disrespecting our Harlem swag,” another chimed in.
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