Dr. Horacio Arruda offers tearful apology for appearance in viral dance video

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Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, offered a tearful apology Tuesday to anyone who may have been offended by a viral video showing him dancing to the music of a Quebec rapper.

The video shows a rapper named Rod le Stod, in split-screen mode, dancing to a tune he wrote and performed called "Ode à Horacio Arruda". On the other half of the screen, Arruda himself is seen dancing along, wearing a black t-shirt and a black tuque.

Arruda told reporters he gets a torrent of emails every day from wellwishers, as well as those who don't wish him so well. He says Rod the Stod emailed him recently asking him to submit a video of him dancing so that he could include it in his video for the song. Arruda said he believed the song would raise funds for a Montreal youth shelter, and that it would only be shown on the rapper's own Facebook page.

The youth shelter in question, the Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal, distanced itself from the video in a tweet posted Monday.

The video has been seen more than 250,000 times since it was posted to YouTube on Sunday, and much of the reaction to it was negative — attacking Arruda for making light of the crisis even as thousands of Quebecers are suffering and dying.

"It was never my intention to hurt anyone. And I understood," Arruda said, his voice choking up with emotion. "Never again will I go on social media in that kind of context."

Arruda said he's been working day and night on getting a handle on COVID-19 since the month of January, and added that every night he wakes up at 2 o'clock in the morning to check up on the death statistics. Each time, he says, his heart sinks.

"Statistics are persons. They're families. Never did I want to insult anyone with this," he said.

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