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IPhone-Evo Spoof Earns Employee Suspension

A 25-year-old Best Buy employee who posted a snarky cartoon spoof of iPhone zealots has been suspended and may soon be out of a job.

Brian Maupin, who worked at a Best Buy branch in Independence, Mo., since 2007, was suspended from his job Thursday and now expects to be fired by Monday for posting the two YouTube videos that slam fans of the iPhone 4 and HTC Corp.'s Evo 4G. Those videos don't mention Best Buy, which sells both phones.

Although his bosses failed to see the humor, a lot of other people have, apparently. At last look, more than 1.7 million people have viewed the video on YouTube, which features a 3.28 minute conversation between an increasingly exasperated electronics store salesman trying to talk a shopper into considering a smartphone alternative to the iPhone. The video targeting Evo buyers had racked up nearly 340,000 views.

"They felt it disparaged a brand they carried (iPhone/Apple) as well as the store itself and were fearful of stockholders & customers being turned off to Best Buy Mobile," Maupin said in an interview with TechCrunch.

Maupin told TechCrunch that he was asked to quit but refused the request. At that point, Maupin says he was told of his suspension in advance of a review of the matter by the company's human resources department. "I issued a statement to them explaining that the video was intended to be comedic and hence, not taken seriously by them or all these stockholders & customers they are worried about [being] turned off to buying from them due to the video," Maupin said.

The AP quoted an e-mail from Best Buy spokesman Justin Barber, who said Friday that the consumer electronics chain was still deciding how to proceed with Maupin, whom he called an "aspiring filmmaker."

(Reader advisory: the language in the videos gets a bit spicy in parts.)

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