"Star Wars Kid" files lawsuit

in General Discussion edited January 2014
This is really a sad one. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the "star wars kid" from Canada and his home video with the golf ball retriever that was later dubbed with music and composited with light saber glows and other special effects. Well, it turns out that the high publicity and pressure was enough for him to drop out of school and be institutionalized. His family is now suing the kids that stole and published his video.



Parents file lawsuit over Star Wars Kid video


MONTREAL ? The parents of Ghyslain Raza, the Quebec teenager who became a celebrity this spring after classmates posted on the Internet a video of him mimicking a Star Wars character, allege that their son was so humiliated by the experience that he had to get psychiatric care.

The revelation is made in a lawsuit his parents have filed against the families of four classmates they accuse of maliciously turning their son into an object of mockery.

The video of Ghyslain, a portly 15-year-old pretending he is wielding a double-bladed light sabre, has been downloaded millions of times from several Web sites, which dubbed him Star Wars Kid.

Many other pranksters have created their own versions of the clip, with added video effects and sounds. One has him moving at fast-forward speed to goofy music from the Benny Hill Show. Other parodies were made with unflattering titles, such as Dork Clones, or mixed in with sounds of flatulence.

In a statement of claim filed last week in their home town of Trois-Rivières, the Razas say that Ghyslain was so widely mocked at his private high school that he dropped out.

He had to finish the session at Pavillon Arc-en-ciel, a ward specializing in child psychiatry at the Trois-Rivières Regional Hospital Centre.

Ghyslain "will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite amount of time," the statement of claim says.

"The stigma of mental illness can generate social prejudices having severe consequences" on the young man, including making it more difficult for him to enroll in the school of his choice or get a job, or even forcing him to change his name, the document added.

"Ghyslain had to endure, and still endures today, harassment and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large," it said.

The story has appeared in newspapers around the world, from the New York Times to the New Zealand Herald.

The Razas are now seeking $225,000 in damages from the parents of four teenagers: Michaël Caron, François Labarre, Jérôme Laflamme and Jean-Michel Rheault.

They say the four stole the video from a school filing cabinet where Ghyslain had stored a video camera he was using for a student project.

The lawsuit says the four young men then digitized the video before sending it out on the Internet in April, with messages inviting people to make insulting remarks about it.

The statement of claim includes lengthy excerpts that it says come from Internet chats in May between the pranksters.

Complete with misspellings, bad grammar and cyber-style acronyms, the exchanges are used in the statement of claim as evidence that the boys lacked remorse. They also brag in them that they evaded attempts by school officials to find the culprits behind Ghyslain's misfortunes.

Ghyslain's parents and lawyers would not speak to reporters yesterday. The parents of the defendants either did not answer calls or refused to comment because the dispute was before the courts.

While the video of Ghyslain's antics generated some derisive Internet comments, others felt bad and started raising money for him. One group collected more than $3,000 (U.S.), which they used to buy him an Apple iPod portable music player.

In the excerpts from Internet chats filed in court, the four appear to be plotting ways to get the gifts sent to another address so they can keep the iPod for themselves.

Here's wishing the best of luck to him.


  • Reply 1 of 42
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    You know, I just saw this video for the first time last weekend. It was certainly funny, but not because of this kid. It could've been some cutie-pie cheerleader type lip synching a No Doubt song and really getting WAY into it. Just the whole thing of someone getting THAT into something is kinda funny.

    I've TOTALLY been busted doing the whole "air guitar" thing and had to endure some grief and razzing for a while.

    Of course, only by my close buddies and not the entire cruel world...

    I've wondered about this kid since I've seen the video. I didn't know if this made him popular or, unfortunately, opened the door up to a not-so-nice life.
  • Reply 2 of 42
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Anyone got a link to the video?

    BTW, AppleOutsider for this
  • Reply 3 of 42
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    This is such a non-event that words fail me. That kid, apparently, is one sad cookie and was a nutcase waiting to happen. Good thing some institution caught him before he starting slaying his classmates. I'd love to have my light-saber exploits cause servers into DoS. Yes. That would give meaning to my life.

    Hm. What smiley should I use here? Biggest non-story ever still.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member

    One group collected more than $3,000 (U.S.), which they used to buy him an Apple iPod portable music player.

  • Reply 5 of 42
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,261member

    Originally posted by Anders


    And please put some thought into where you place these threads, people. Jesus!!

    Off to AI with this. That's one, Brad.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member

    Originally posted by der Kopf

    Good thing some institution caught him before he starting slaying his classmates.

    If "slaying" involves anything I just saw, we don't have much to worry about.

    But I have been in his position before, much like pscates air-guitar. (Thank goodness it wasn't on the internet) but if someone finds something stupid/funny/unique, you bet they will tell their friends. It's human nature. Anyways, I feel many people have done something like this and can relate, but although they laugh, they don't think much less of him as a person.

    \ Hmmm. That got a little wordy at the end. Hope it makes senesce.
  • Reply 7 of 42
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    it's a major story on Global National <TV News> tonight.

    archived video of the news story should be online by tomorrow
  • Reply 8 of 42
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member

    Originally posted by applenut

    Anyone got a link to the video?

    38 different version of it here http://www.jedimaster.net/

    I see nothing worth suing about from any of the videos. But then I'm not the kid. Nonetheless, me thinks some people just have no humor.
  • Reply 9 of 42
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member

    Originally posted by curiousuburb

    it's a major story on Global National <TV News> tonight.

    archived video of the news story should be online by tomorrow

    Whoa, his parents must have hired the dumbest legal team..no mention about suing the school, the education board...

    And I wonder who'll have the guts to post it on the internet ( the video in question ), knowing know as they do, that they could be sued..for continued aggravation...some people/ companies / institutions never learn....
  • Reply 10 of 42
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    The kid may have been wronged by this but lawyers are never the answer. We don't know what the situation was with this kid. He may have been on the edge to begin with.

    Had this happened to me? I don't know. I'd like to think I could have a good laugh at myself along with everyone else. I would think it would cause everyone to forget about it faster. But you know the kid is young.
  • Reply 11 of 42
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    well he sure wasn't swinging a clue stick

    don't want to get embarrassed by internet video, (pron or other)?

    try NOT FILMING YOURSELF looking stupid.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Wahhh. My kid is maladjusted and it's all your fault...now give us millions so we can be whole again.

    All I can say is: [imagine bird smiley here]
  • Reply 13 of 42
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Oh my God. This kid needs to lighten up and take life less seriously. Gosh, just laugh once and a while!! It's funny, but it's not cause for "psychiatric" treatment. Get real.

    I guess it takes getting THROUGH middle and high school to learn "not really caring much about what anybody else thinks," though.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    Wow. I'm pretty surprised by how callous some of you guys are. I guess I just empathize with the kid since I too have been institutionalized for depression and related phsychological problems.

    Put yourselves in his shoes. You're a young, naive boy and some bullies from your school steal something private and potentially very embarassing of yours and put it on display for MILLIONS of people to watch and laugh at and ridicule you over. It's not just a class or school that's laughing at you. It's people around the entire world. You can no longer walk around your school or home town or anywhere in public for that matter without someone pointing you out and laughing or making fun of you. Do you really think you, at his age, could suck it up and just deal with it? I sure as hell couldn't. I don't think any of my friends from my youth could handle that.

    This isn't the same kind of "celebrity" status that other people like actors and musicians achieve. They know what they're getting into. Ghyslain was thrown into this personal hell without any choice or control.

    How much is a person's privacy, sanity, and life worth? A quarter million dollars? Why not? There are people suing for much more money for far more frivalous issues.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    The kid is young, which I did mention, but a lawyer is not going to solve his problems. Only make them worse. Lawyers are evil.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    wrong robotwrong robot Posts: 3,907member
    What's worse is he has a pretty unique name, so even if he did manage to not be recognized by apperance, people would likely realize as soon as they heard his name.

    at anyrate, I just saw a petition today to get the kid a spot in Episode III.

    I think the $3k that he got was very generous, and certainly a good act of human decency for giving at least some compensation to this kid.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    This kid should have known better than to make a video of himself acting like a giant ass with a school camera. I'm not even going to try to justify the actions of the four kids but christ, teenagers are shit, they do shitty things. When I was that age I did things to classmates that were on par or far worse. But I also took it pretty bad.

    Sadly, unbearable humiliation is part of growing up and some can cope with it better than others. This kid couldn't cope. Something probably would've broken him sooner or later.

    Oh, as an aside to this, If anyone here thinks they got caught doing something embarassing, like playing air guitar. This might make you fell better, A friend of mine was caught skull-f*cking one his old teddy bears by a large group of friends when he was in high school. You can't get much worse than that.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member
    So how many of you grew as fat kids ?

    Have you any idea what it is like to be singled out as a fatty ?

    Its a form of ostracisation that cuts young adolecents very deeply.

    Him filming himself, may have been a dumb idea, but since when does that give someone else the jackass right to break into his locker, steal his video camera and put his display on the net.

    If he wasn't super concious of his own weight problem or foolish actions, then putting it all on video must have made his life a living hell.

    As for the bullies...they usually grow out of such behaviour but not before leaving a trail of devestation behind them....

    Suing the parents of the bullies is wrong....

    Suing the internet companies that allowed such material to go on unchallenged, along with the media outlets that all profitted from his escapades..they're the one's I'd put in my cross hairs...
  • Reply 19 of 42
    argentoargento Posts: 483member

    Originally posted by Scott

    The kid is young, which I did mention, but a lawyer is not going to solve his problems. Only make them worse. Lawyers are evil.

    They always are....until you need them.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member

    Originally posted by Argento

    They always are....until you need them.

    Lawyers might be one of those "neccessary " evils...

    I hated going through the courts with my being hit by a car..but no one else was going to pay all my medical bills...

    Besides which, sounds like that kid is going to need help for a while..& psychiatric care is not cheap...

    That's what legal compensation is all about..repairing damage done...it's not a free lunch pass ....to bludge on others..

    I agree it's not the best system or approach, but it is better than letting those responsible get away with it.....

    Scott free....( pardon the pun there Scotty ) \
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