Monday, November 5, 2007


The Free Hugs Campaign is an Internet-spread phenomenon that appears to have begun in June, 2004, and was widely publicized in 2006 by a music video on YouTube. The phenomenon involves individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public settings. The campaign is an example of a random act of kindness, a selfless act performed by a person for the sole reason of making others feel better. The original organizer has stated in interviews that the purpose is not to get names, phone numbers, or dates.

A video on YouTube was released on September 22, 2006, and by December 2006, had gained over 19 million views. According to the video summary, it was recorded in Sydney. In the video, the main character who is giving out hugs, (identified as "Juan Mann", a pseudonym and a homonym of "one man"), walks through the Pitt Street Mall holding up a sign with the words FREE HUGS written on it. Music for the video is provided by Sick Puppies, an Australian band that Mann met a year earlier. Shimon Moore, the lead singer of the Sick Puppies who worked at the mall, shot the footage which he later compiled into a video for the song.

Initial distrust of Juan's motives eventually gave way to a gradual increase of people willing to be hugged, with other huggers (male and female) helping distribute them. After some time, security guards, then police told them they must stop, as Mann had not obtained public liability insurance worth $25 million for his actions.[3] Mann and his companions used a petition to attempt to convince authorities that his campaign should be allowed to continue without the insurance. His petition reached 10,000 signatures. He submitted it and was allowed to continue giving free hugs.

On the forum of the official Free Hugs campaign website, Juan Mann called for an annual International Free Hugs Day, to be celebrated every year on the first weekend after June 30; the first such day was July 7, 2007, also known as 7/7/07. The purpose of the day is to promote the Free Hugs Campaign. The organizers are hoping that hundreds of people around the world will be distributing free hugs on this day.

No comments: