How One Viral Tweet Has Turned the Table on Bullies
Sean—Dancing Man, as he is affectionately known throughout the world—is a Londoner who was simply enjoying himself at a concert. Dancing carefree, Sean caught the eyes of a cameraman and his buddy who began laughing at him, at which point Sean stopped dancing and looked down to the floor dejectedly. The cameraman snapped a photo and posted it at first to an anonymous message board called 4chan and then later to Imgur, with a bullying caption that ridiculed Dancing Man’s free-spirited dancing. Once it hit Imgur, it was available to Twitter users around the world.
Tweeter Cassandra Fairbanks, a resident of Los Angeles and activist with the Free Thought Project, saw the post with its offensive caption and made it her mission to identify the man in the photo. Her tweet, hashtagged ‘#finddancingman‘, went viral and Cassandra and her friends located Sean within a few hours. He is now the recipient of an invitation to come and dance with around 2,000 women at a special party in his honor in Los Angeles. The women set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money for Sean’s plane ticket to L.A. Within several hours $3,906 had been raised. Any donations leftover will be given to an anti-bullying campaign.
The entire story of Dancing Man has so captured the hearts of people around the globe that celebrities such as Pharrell Williams, Moby and Andrew W.K. have offered to do everything they can to make it a true VIP event for Sean. What is it about this story that has generated such buzz? Cruelty. Everyone recognized the cruelty of the original post and wanted to be part of righting a wrong, to make a statement that bullying is not tolerated in a progressive society. Cassandra says she was horrified by the cruel post as were all those who saw it, and became emotionally involved in finding Sean. Now Sean and all of his social media fans are smiling.