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The photos that started a viral anti-bullying sensation (Photo: 4chan)
A global Twitter search for a London man who was fat shamed went viral this week. Now people the world over are talking about #DancingMan, even stars like Pharrell, Moby, Dita Von Teese, and Susan Sarandon.
The #DancingMan phenomenon started on Thursday, when L.A.-based writer Cassandra Fairbanks, with The Free Thought Project, saw a photo on the 4chan website of a man who was fat shamed after being seen dancing. The caption on the photo read: “Spotted this specimen trying to dance the other week. He stopped when he saw us laughing.”
Fairbanks tweeted, “Anyone know this man or who posted this? There’s a huge group of ladies in LA who would like to do something special.”
Fairbanks came up with a concept: to throw a dance party for the mystery man in Los Angeles, with thousands of women in attendance.
The #FindDancingMan campaign took off like wildfire, and within 24 hours, the #DancingMan himself — Sean — had been found. He was traveling in Kiev. “Thanks for the interest and the tweet,” he wrote on his newly established Twitter account (@dancingmanfound), which quickly attracted more than 51,000 followers. “Today is a day I have never imagined would happen.”
Sean the #DancingMan posted a photo of himself training for the dance party. (Photo: Dancing Man/Twitter)
#DancingMan Sean’s profile photo. (Photo: Dancing Man/Twitter)
Within 48 hours of starting the campaign, Fairbanks had sparked a worldwide phenomenon. On #DancingMan’s Twitter account, there were shout-outs from South America (“Brazil is in love with you”), the Middle East (“Dubai dances with you”), Asia (“Sending my love for you from Indonesia”), Africa (“Greetings from an #Ethiopian in #Nigeria), Europe (“Big hug from the Netherlands”), and around the country (“‘Cut a rug’ as we say here about dancing. Much love from Massachusetts”).
As @_B_O_D_Y_ tweeted to #DancingMan: “2 fools aimed to shame u but instead the world embraced u.”
The musician Moby volunteered to DJ at the party, singer Pharrell offered to get involved, burlesque star Dita Von Teese said she would attend, Russell Davis of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue offered his bartending services, and actress Susan Sarandon tweeted that she was “dancing in my kitchen with you now” in support. The Los Angeles Coliseum also donated the stadium to host the event.
Fairbanks even started a GoFundMe campaign that had raised over $32,000 as this story went to press, surpassing its $20,000 goal.
According to Sky News, Fairbanks has been in contact with Sean the #DancingMan, and they’re trying to figure out a date for the big party. “I think we can swing the airfare,” Fairbanks told SkyNews, describing what she said would be an “epic” trip.
What has struck Fairbanks the most is the global reaction. “This outpouring of kindness on display from so many different people from all over the world is really heart warming,” Fairbanks wrote on Twitter. “People really are good.”