Bullied online, 'Dancing Man' now set for LA dance party with Pharrell after heartwarming Twitter campaign

He was ridiculed in public and shamed online, all because he wanted to dance.

Now, after a fundraising campaign, the "Dancing Man" - a British man known only as Sean - will be flown to a dance party in Los Angeles thrown in his honour. The party will possibly be attended by musicians Pharrell Williams and Moby.

It started in February when a user on forum 4chan posted two pictures of the man, the first one of him dancing, and the second of him looking dejected. The user wrote: "Spotted this specimen trying to dance the other week. He stopped when he saw us laughing."

The post attracted attention when someone named FrozenBadger posted a screengrab of the bullying on image hosting site Imgur on Wednesday, expressing anger and showing support for the dancing man by writing "Keep dancing".

It quickly went viral, with more than 782,000 people viewing the picture, including US writer Cassandra Fairbanks, who sent out a tweet seeking the man's identity.

She wrote: "Anyone know this man or who posted this? There's a huge group of ladies in LA who would like to do something special"

With the help of Twitter and the hashtag #FindDancingMan, the Londoner was soon identifed after a picture of him with Gunnersaurus, the mascot of English football club Arsenal, surfaced.

And on Friday, the Dancing Man himself got on Twitter to express gratitude at the wave of encouragement and support. Using the handle @Dancingmanfound, he tweeted: "Cassandra just seen invite and would love to join you in LA for a dance off!!"

A crowdfunding campaign to fly Sean to Los Angeles has generated more than US$22,500 (S$31,000) in 17 hours, exceeding its goal of US$20,000. Any money not used for the party will go to an anti-bullying charity, its organisers said.

Musicians Pharrell Williams and Moby have also joined the love-in. Williams tweeted Fairbanks asking to keep him in the loop about the party and told Sean not to be ashamed of himself. Meanwhile, Moby offered to DJ at the party for free.

Overwhelmed by his overnight fame, the Dancing Man tweeted: "Big thanks to all who have tweeted such kind words. Not stopped smiling and laughing"

dshea@sph.com.sg