Face of ‘blinking guy’ viral GIF raises thousands for MS charity

25 September 2021, 07:44

Drew Scanlon
Philanthropy Viral GIF-Fundraiser. Picture: PA

A GIF featuring Drew Scanlon’s face has been used an estimated 1.7 billion times on the internet.

Anyone who has been on social media or shared texts with friends will likely know Drew Scanlon’s face.

His GIF, known as “Blinking Guy” or “Blinking White Guy”, is estimated to have been used more than 1.7 billion times across the internet to express disbelief or confusion. It even has its own Twitter page.

Mr Scanlon has been using internet fame for good – by soliciting donations for the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society to aid with research and advocacy for the disease.

Last week, he appealed to his Twitter followers to pitch in, writing on Twitter: “If this GIF has ever brought you joy in the past, I humbly ask you to consider making a donation to the National MS Society.”

Many have chipped in, helping Mr Scanlon raise more than 75,000 dollars (£54,000) and break his 2019 record of nearly 34,000 dollars (£24,000) – the first time he used the meme to raise funds.

Overall, the 35-year-old has raised more than 154,000 (£112,400) for the organisation since 2016.

Mr Scanlon, who works as a producer at the California-based video game developer Digital Eclipse, says two of his friends, as well as members of their families, have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

“If a fraction of those who have seen my goofy face donated to MS research, I have a feeling we could kick this thing in no time!” he wrote.

That “goofy face” was a result of a moment in 2013, when he and his co-workers at the gaming site Giant Bomb were live-streaming themselves playing video games.

One of his co-workers made an “off-colour” joke, and Mr Scanlon reacted with what has now become his famous expression.

A user on that site turned it into a GIF, he said, but it gained so much notoriety four years later that even celebrities have started using it.

“It’s kind of fun to see that, but it’s also a little bit overwhelming,” he said.

“At a certain point, you realise that it’s completely out of your control and that you don’t have any say in how it is used and by whom.

“And, you know, it’s your face — that’s pretty closely tied to your identity.”

By Press Association

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