Star Wars Kid

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Star Wars Kid is a viral video made in 2002 by Ghyslain Raza in which he wields a golf ball retriever in imitation of Darth Vader’s lightsaber moves from the film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. At the time, Raza was a 15-year-old high school student from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada. He had not intended for the video to become public, but its subsequent release led to ridicule, during which Raza chose to distance himself from the video. Raza since has affirmed his identity and has used the video to help to speak on the effects of bullying and harassment.

At the time (November 2, 2002), another ninth-grade student at le Séminaire Saint Joseph asked Raza to help with creating a video using a golf club as a lightsaber after prior attempts with other students failed to produce the after-effects he wanted. When Raza stepped in front of the camera he was attempting to demonstrate slower movements in hopes it might provide better source material for creating the effects. Unable to demonstrate the idea he had in mind, Raza gave up but decided “to vent some steam” at the end.

Raza’s family filed a $250,000 lawsuit in Canada against the families of four of his schoolmates, blaming them for the “harassment and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large” and then settled out of court soon there after.

2022 Update: Mathieu Fournier created a documentary on Ghyslain Raza, Star Wars Kid: The Rise of the Digital Shadows, which goes indepth on Raza’s life as an unwanted meme and provides insight into the dangers and obsticles of online media (via)

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