10 years later, ‘Star Wars Kid’ speaks out - Macleans.ca

10 years later, ‘Star Wars Kid’ speaks out

Ghyslain Raza talks for the first time about the infamous video and the dangers of cyberbullying


StarWarsKidAlmost a billion viewers across the planet know him as the Star Wars Kid, but they’ve never heard him speak, until now.

Ghyslain Raza was a normal high-school student in small-town Quebec back in 2002, a shy 14-year-old who liked to make videos. In 2003, classmates posted one of those videos on the Internet without his knowledge–in it, Raza wields a makeshift light saber, clumsily imitating a Star Wars Jedi knight.

The video went viral, and the Trois-Rivières teen became one of the earliest and highest-profile victims of a massive cyberbullying attack, one that played out among classmates and strangers online.

“What I saw was mean. It was violent. People were telling me to commit suicide,” the now-25-year-old recalls.

After a 10-year silence, Raza speaks out for the first time in an exclusive interview with award-winning French-Canadian journalist Jonathan Trudel (L’actualité magazine). The full interview also appears in English in the latest issue of Maclean’s.

Related: Star Wars sucks. There … we said it. 

Recorded while Raza was “goofing around” alone at his school’s TV club studio — the group had been working on a Star Wars parody — the video had soon been seen by tens of millions, all the more remarkable in a pre-YouTube world.

Raza said he lost what few friends he had in the fallout, and had to change schools. “In the common room, students climbed onto tabletops to insult me,” he told L’actualité.

It was “a very dark period,” he said. “No matter how hard I tried to ignore people telling me to commit suicide, I couldn’t help but feel worthless, like my life wasn’t worth living.”

Related: Luke … I am your Star Wars-themed PopChips

Raza, now a law-school graduate from McGill, said he was driven to speak out by the recent spate of high-profile cases of cyberbullying, some of which have pushed their victims to commit suicide. If the same situation were to happen today, he said he hopes school authorities would help him through it.

Raza said he hopes talking about his experience will help others to deal with cyberbullying, and urged other young victims to “overcome (their) shame” and seek help.

“You’ll survive. You’ll get through it,” he said. “And you’re not alone. You are surrounded by people who love you.”

Related: Readers thank Ghyslain Raza for telling his story 


10 years later, ‘Star Wars Kid’ speaks out

  1. Ha! I always wondered what happened to “The Star Wars kid” and I do mean how he dealt with being humiliated like that. Pretty cool to read he’s a law school grad and now feels confident enough to stand up and speak out for the bullied. It sure does expose a point that we all miss. So many people watch and laugh at this vids, and they are the same people who hear Retah’s story and think bullying is terrible. We don’t realize how hypocrtical we can all be sometimes.

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    • Surely though, the video was intended to be entertaining and funny, but people took it in the wrong light. Undoubtedly, there were fools who saw it as a way to insult him unnecessarily, when it was solely intended as a parody. People telling him to commit suicide though? That’s just over the top. The cruelness of teenagers sometimes astounds me.

      • Not just teenagers, and I don’t see how you can be surprised when it’s everywhere. Mankind in general, even YOU and me are to a certain degree, hypocritical. We’re no better than animals (actually make that we ARE worse than animals because, APPARENTLY, we are “blessed” with reason), the fact remains that we are still subjugated to the laws of nature: survival of the fittest, the strongest will survive. How is this done? By manipulating and destroying whoever stands in our way. Bullying is everywhere, it just takes different forms as we grow older and “wiser”. Like another commenter said: the same people who were outraged at the the death of Retah are the same goddamned people who laughed and forwarded Ghyslain’s video. We’re all really sick and evil as a whole, but no one will acknowledge that.

        • I disagree. We are not sick and evil as a species. Generally people bully because they themselves feel inadequate. That’s the problem we need to solve. Also we are just another species of animal. Just because we talk doesn’t change the fact that like all other creatures here we are animals

          • As a species, we are capable of so much good, but we are also capable of unimaginable evil… We choose our path.

          • You underestimate the power of the Dark Side.

          • Actually, the idea that people bully because they feel inadequate has been challenged in recent years. Bullies are almost never the “disturbed loner” types we want to believe they are. They are almost always the most popular kids, the natural leaders, the most charismatic, and often the most “well-adjusted”. The ones with high self esteem bordering on narcissism. Ask anyone who’s been bullied, they’ll seldom tell you it was by a troubled loner. Almost always it was the “cool kids”, and the rest of the lemmings took their queue from them and joined in the fun. This has been backed up by research in recent years.

          • This.

          • The fact that someone is popular does not rule out them having low self esteem. They enjoy a certain status and are afraid to lose it, and therefore prey on people of a lower status to elevate their own. The sheep around them are all more concerned about their own status than about the fate of the victim.
            Now, I’m not a psychologist/socioligist or any other behavioral scientist, just trying to point out that the two need not be conflicting.

          • I met one bully who was the disturbed loner type, but yeah, I think every other one was a popular kid.

        • We can’t be better or worse than animals. We ARE animals.

          • We are worse. We are the only species that can potentially be the direct cause for the mass extinction of others species.

      • It wasn’t meant in jest. He was doing what all boys do and pretending to be badass. Hell I did it until I was like 23 lol

    • Hey, I’ll admit, I laughed like hell at the video. It was funny.
      He was just so damned earnest and put so much effort into his routine, and him at the time looking like the antithesis of what he was striving to be in the video. If you can’t laugh at seeing something like that, what can you laugh at?

      I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all to laugh at such a pure expression of joyous play and make believe while at the same time thinking that anybody who would bully or insult him for doing it is a prick.

      • Switch roles. Imagine YOU are this boy in the video and everything that happened to him happened to you… Would you still see the video as funny? Would you even still be alive today!?

        • I guess I’m alone, but I can laugh at someone and also feel like they’re a worthwhile human being. Can laugh with people who laugh at me.

        • Five sentences too much for you? Perhaps you should just try reading the last one.

        • Dude, sitting at home and laughing at a video doesn’t hurt anyone. Thwim didn’t say anything about it being okay to actually do something to hurt the kid. Perhaps you don’t realize it, but despite what the internet has taught so many, your every thought does not get broadcast to the world. If you keep them to yourself, they’ll never hurt anyone.

        • There is nothing wrong with finding the video funny and laughing at it. There is also nothing wrong with some harmless making fun. The problem is for some reason these people were being vicious to the poor kid for no reason. There is no boy alive who hasn’t done what he was doing in that video.

          • Yes, I agree with you. There is nothing wrong at all for laughing at the video and finding it funny. I bet even his parents found it funny when they first watched it before the viral incident (if they did). What I cannot tolerate is when people feel the need to humiliate and jeer at him. It saddens me to think that if he were my son, he’d be someone I would love so much and would spend my life protecting and here my son has been thrown, without consent, onto the world stage to be laughed at and I can’t do anything to help him, or stop it because there’s no law against it or too many bullies to deal with. It would kill me, and I just think that empathy is something we as a society have greatly never seemed to embody. Bottom line, you cannot help what you think is funny but you can choose whether you make a remark about it or not. And that is where it becomes cruel, our remarks.

        • laughing at the video is not a crime, if a young boy can’t handle being laughed at there are a lot of other things in life that he won’t be able to handle either. everyone gets humiliated, every one gets made fun of, every one needs to learn to laugh at themselves. the horrible thing in this case is that people crossed a line and went as far as to tell this kid to kill himself. that is not okay.

      • You don’t think that anybody who would bully or insult him for doing it is a prick?

        Someone who bullies and insults someone else is a prick, by definition.

        • Learn to read.

    • There’s nothing wrong with laughing at the video. What is wrong is lashing out at an innocent kid because the viewer has nothing better to do than torment people who will never have the opportunity to hit back. You can think what you like – what you can’t (or shouldn’t) do is hurt others.

    • I laugh because it was funny :D and it still is…even Ghyslain Raza admited they were doing a parody and what is the objective of a parody???

      To make you laugh :P

      btw u just won on life Ghyslain Raza gl for the future

    • Also he’s a law school grad in a country where the legal industry doesn’t leave people in massive debt with horrible job prospects, at a respectable school.

    • hey Ghyslain Raza, you really should suicide

  2. I still cannot figure out why he was ridiculed.. It was a kid playing… Our society really has lost any sense of morals and values in the last 15-20 years….

    • Its, the anonymity of the internet, people think they can get away with being a total shit, and since it’s anonymous no one gets hurt.

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        • Yeah it kind of is, especially considering the type of people who are more likely to browse/spend much of their time on the internet.

          It’s a chance to say things/be someone they can’t in public

      • “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

        While that quote was meant to be silly and attached with a dog using a computer, it means so much more. It is sad that so many people can hide behind a computer screen and write such acrimonious trash to hurt others for their own self-pleasure.

        We all have a moral obligation to encourage tolerance, love, and respect for others. Let’s get it done, guys.

      • sadly, it wasn’t on the internet where he was bullied, it was in school where he was bullied the most. and most schools put the blame on the victim to this day. they use the if you don’t want to be bullied then you shouldn’t do —-. and for some kids, its you shouldn’t go to school

      • The laws are typically behind technology by half a generation. They really need to accelerate this process.

    • Society, has come a long way. The crusades, witch-hunts, slavery, public lynchings, tar and feathering, corporal punishment, rape as punishment etc. It’s getting better not worse, and someday, hopefully, cyber-bullying will be a rare and awful thing of the past.

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        • That’s my take also, Jordan. When I was 13 I wondered if the world and the masses were enlightened enough now to the point where we would never be subject to mass deception and self-delusion. Would I live through just one more cycle of never ending repeat of history where people will not look back on us and ask: “how could they be so effing stupid?” Well, i’m 50 now and I have the answer, and it is just as you point out, the success of the 9/11 fiasco proves we have not gotten wiser in the least. It’s pathetic. Disgusting. Choose your word.

      • Really? Which society is that? Or do you think ours is the only one on the planet?

        • Because of the internet, yes.

          Unless you’re a whale or monkey or some non-human species.

          • You’re joking, right? You can’t possibly be that ignorant.

    • It could be a statistical problem. If you assume 0.1% of people are bullies. You multiply that number by the tens of millions of views on that video, and you have ten thousand jerks. Then you take into account mob-mentality, and you have a big bulling problem.

      • It’s not the bullies who are the big problem, it’s the fact that bullies are usually the “cool kids”, the natural leaders and charismatic types. If it was only bullies themselves, they could b dealt with. But everyone else lines up behind them. The bullies are just the catalyst that allows the ugly side of human nature to gain the upper hand.

    • The problem there is that most adults will have a laugh at a kid playing, while other kids will see him as a fool. He won’t see or hear the adults, but he will see and hear the other kids.

  3. Mr. Raza, I doubt you will ever see this, but I want you to know that your story inspires me. As someone who has felt all the shame of social ridicule, and seen friends suffer under torment not even close to what you have known, the hope your tale can impart is important for all to hear.

    Thank you for being strong, so the rest of us may follow.

  4. I can never understand why there are always people who think its ok to tell others to “go kill themselves” over a youtube video!!

    • Yep. I also can’t understand why there are always people who think it’s okay to insult any woman they see on the internet, or threaten rape and murder because a girl points out that sexism is bad, or tell a guy he’s a f** because they don’t like his opinions. When I see stuff like that, it just makes me realize again that Sartre was right – hell is other people.

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        • not even a little bit funny sherod

  5. Thank you, Mr. Raza, for being strong and telling your story. You endured something awful and undeserved, and now by your example you are giving others the strength and courage to endure bullying. I hope your example and inspiration to others gives you comfort. Congratulations. And thanks.

  6. wants to prevent bullying… goes into litigation

    see the ironing!?

    • Ironing? On his suit?

    • If your talking about IRONY, no, I don’t see it. Attorneys play an important part in the functioning of society. If you’d ever needed one, you’d know that.

      • The sad thing is that we need attorneys! Not want, NEED

        • You’d rather have your plumber defend you? Or should we bring back dueling?

    • He didn’t exactly have a tonne of options now did he?

  7. I thought the Star Wars Kid video and its parodies were awesome. Its too bad Raza wasn’t able to enjoy the fame and even make money from it. I’m impressed he’s a law school grad now.

    • I figure being a lawyer, a service industry where having a high profile, like being “the Star Wars” kid who has decided to speak out against cyber-bullying, will vastly help his already high paying career. And that’s not to mention the $250k lawsuit, though it was settled out of court, so who knows how much he got, but it paid for his law degree. Which gets me to thinking, what about the damage that does to the families of the kids (underage and immature) who had no idea their prank would have such far reaching effect. Also, I wonder if he was paid for the interview. Finally, I don’t doubt he was bullied and harassed, but by far most of the comments from the world, if not his school, were not mean-spirited, and there were plenty of commenters who were fully supportive and compassionate towards him. I have always felt his, and his parents, reaction to this incident were misguided at best. I hate to come off as a jerk, but 8 years after, it looks like this incident has paid off for him in spades, and he’s now he’s going in for another dose of fame and money. And simply by talking about it. I’m a cynic, and it just seems to me his action are more beneficial to himself than anyone else.

      • Wow. So because YOU didn’t see all the negativity and hate, it didn’t happen? Don’t you think maybe Raza knows how much opprobrium he got a little better than you do? Talk about arrogant.

        • I never said “all the negativity and hate” didn’t happen, in fact I said “I don’t doubt he was bullied and harassed” I have no ill will towards Rava, I just think his reactions at the time were “misguided”, that he did benefit financially from it, and the people who had to pay for it were the families/parents of the punks who stole and posted the video, their only crime was having a turd for a kid. I also question the motivations of him doing the interview, since it obviously will benefit him greatly in his new career. I could be wrong, but I didn’t see any indication that he was offering pro bono work for the victims of cyber-bullying, now that would certainly shut me up. :) But, thanks for misinterpreting me, I wasn’t quite ready to hop off my soapbox.

          • Serai 1 re-reading your posts, I think it’s ironic you chastise people for insulting others, and yet, I express an opinion, that is critical, but not insulting of Rava, and you respond by insulting me by calling me arrogant after misrepresenting what I said.

          • he got beat up and had a bodyguard following him around, who was supposed to pay for that? him?

            I don’t know why some people think they are allowed to take a person photo or video without this person consent and post it on the internet to make fun off. It’s disgusting.

          • not sure what this post means, or has to do with the discussion. I would suggest most people had fun with the video, rather than use it to make fun of Rava specifically, such as all the parodies that followed, like from family guy, arrested development, heck even George Lucas made a parody video of it.
            Still not sure I’m addressing what you’re saying, it’s worded a bit weird.
            As for the bodyguard, if he needed one, then HE should have to pay for it. If he got a court settlement, and used that money to pay for it that’s fine, HE is still the one paying for it.
            Not sure, because it’s Canada, but if there is a real and present danger to him, the court system has channels in place to provide police protection. The system isn’t perfect, but it works more often than not.

          • They had a” turd for a kid ” to use your words because they raised one. I’m still trying to see how you figure he benefited from this unless you mean he was made stronger by it! Or how his reactions were “misguided?” He feels let down and worthless because people are telling him to kill himself? I’m trying to figure out where you are coming from!

          • “turd for a kid” is in reference to the 3 boys who released it to the internet, then plotted to intercept money and an ipod that had come from donations collected for Rava.

            “Misguided” The reaction by Rava’s parents suing 4 families, quickly dropped to 3, for $250k. The case was settled out of court, but Rava used the money to pay for his degree at law school. I feel for him, and what he had to go through, but financially attacking the boys families is ethically questionable. Hey, I’m no bible thumper, but if it says it wrong (1 Corin. 6:7, plus several other places), I think I can at least say it’s questionable behavior.

            As stated before, I have no beef with Rava, I’m sorry he had to endure any of the crap that people threw at him. Still, the cynic in me is looking at the current situation, and questions why he is doing it. The conclusion I came to was that this will be a huge benefit for his career. I don’t blame him for doing the interview, but I do believe the benefits to him, outweigh the benefits to anyone else. As I stated before, if he was donating his time as a lawyer to work for victims of cyber-bullying, then I’m way off, and I applaud him for that, but there is no indication that is what he is doing in the above article, so I don’t feel his actions are all that charitable.

          • apparently you are a biblical user if it makes your point, yup, use a 2000 year old book to prove that the families didn’t deserve to pay for letting their kids bully someone else to the point of telling him to commit suicide shouldn’t be responsible for their actions! who the hell should be responsible? the bullied kid? the point is they raised the little christers to be bullies and should pay for it

      • ” I hate to come off as a jerk”
        I find that difficult to believe. I suspect you rather enjoy it.

        • no not really, my speculation that his current actions may be for personal gain, might be perceived that way, but I don’t know his mind, it’s just how it appears to me, so I pointed it out. Again, no ill will toward Rava, just sharing an opinion.

          • I don’t see why you would think his actions at the time were “misguided”. He was publicly humiliated by an invasion of his privacy, tormented at school, and the subject of vicious scorn online. So he and his parents sued the “turds” responsible, and settled. How is it misguided to seek compensation for that? That’s precisely how you redress something like that in our legal system. You don’t know how much he got, you don’t know that it paid for his law degree, that’s sheer speculation, and even if it was most of what they sued for – so what? How is it misguided to settle for a good amount? Parties to a lawsuit (hopefully) act in their own rational self-interest (which as a cynic you can surely understand), and if he got a good out-of court settlement, it’s because the other parties considered their options at trial and thought they had some serious risk.

            Now after being quiet about it for a long while, he speaks up after a spate of recent cyber bullying incidents. Other than the fact that he’s a law school grad, why think there is any tacit motive to this? He’s been quiet about it for 10 years, it seems just as likely that now he’s said his piece (and probably answered a few follow-up interviews) he’ll resume his life. His actions so far seem to suggest he doesn’t seek the limelight. I have my doubts that it will be a significant help to his new career – I don’t know what kind of law he intends to practice (or if he intends to practice – many law school grads don’t go into private practice). I could see if he did criminal defence or human rights work, the public profile might help. But if you want someone to draw up your will, are you going to think, “Oh, I want the Star Wars kid who spoke up about cyberbullying to do it”? Sure, any publicity is good publicity, but to think that’s the reason now for doing this is simply speculation that flies in the face of his past actions.

            And that’s fine. I get that you’re a cynic. But it’s not really adding much to the conversation other than casting unfounded aspersions on the guy.

          • According to news reports at the time, Rava stated he was using the money to pay for college.
            As far as your other comments, I think I address most of them in my response to Major Payne a few minutes ago.
            I’m not casting aspersions at Rava, and you are correct my comments on why he is doing this interview is speculation, but it’s not meant to damage Rava. I am curious, how my comments fly “in the face of his past actions”?
            My original comment, was in response to Ian Berg assuming he didn’t get any fame or money off the incident, when he obviously did make money off of it, and this high profile interview certainly suggests that he got some fame as well. Also, no one on here is making negative comments towards Rava (me included, at least from my perspective), suggests that things have turned out pretty good for him.
            I don’t know for sure, but the fact that he is president of Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, suggests he would want to seek attention. An organization seeking to preserve the cultural heritage of his town. In all this, I don’t begrudge his actions, I simply am questioning the perceived motivations by what seems to be all the other commenters in this thread.
            Essentially, the video certainly endears me to Rava, I question the lawsuit, and I don’t clearly see how this interview helps others more than himself, which is fine, but everyone else here is just full of praise for him, which is also fine, but I’m a little skeptical, and so I expressed it.

          • Jealous?

  8. Wow, the Star Wars Kid graduated from the best law school in Canada. Good for you, Ghyslain Raza.

  9. Raza, good on you man. We’ve all made fools of ourselves in private. I never understood the appeal of that video, but I’m glad you made it out with your head held high — I’d heard that you were having some tough times a few years ago. Keep up the good work, you can turn this into a powerful tool for good.

  10. How can you write an article about star wars kid and not link to the original video???

  11. This comment was deleted.

    • LOL! You ROCK.

  12. “law school graduate” – I guess he now has the last laugh. Congratulations, Ghyslain Raza.

  13. So many people are quick to say/type something behind a keyboard they would never have the courage to say in person. A good rule to follow is to only type it if you have the courage to say it to someone’s face. Behind a keyboard, we often forget the target of our comment is human also.

    • Yep. Every single one of those scum are cowards.

  14. This comment was deleted.

    • He didn’t post it. His classmates did it.

    • He didn’t post the video. People lacking basic reading comprehension shouldn’t be allowed to post comments.

      • If that were so, none of this cyberbullying nonsense would exist.

      • I never said HE posted, I said kids shouldn’t be allowed to post at all, period. They would probably still try to kill themselves at some point, but atleast their bad parents couldn’t blame the big bad internet.

  15. When people are anonymous, they can be utterly vile (see “commenting on the internet”). I’m glad Mr. Raza didn’t harm himself and got his law degree. Overcoming that kind of mass humiliation is amazing. Best of luck to him.

  16. He over came by using the force

  17. Its too bad he feels/felt like crap about that video. Yes it was a little funny. But also majorly awesome. He should be proud to be the “star wars kid” and not a piece of sh-t bully.

  18. Good for him, he got through it. I loved the video it was always a good laugh but I never commented on it. You have to know that the Internet is full of low self esteem individuals that comment negatively to make themselves feel better about their own miserable lives. Then there are some that just want a laugh out of their comments (I’m in this category myself) I mean no real harm I just like to make people laugh but I guess in instances like this when your personality is unknown it can really cause harm needlessly. I will change that myself. Think critically, people, you don’t always know what that person’s dilemma is no matter where you are. You may be laughing at someone that just lost their child or is suffering from a traumatic life threatening illness. Think about that before you comment, I know I will.

  19. Why cant kids just roll with the punches like they have been doing for centuries??? Laugh it off and laugh at yourself its part of becoming a man – now stop crying.

    • well maybe because it s not in a school ground but on the internet… for millions to see… it makes a huge difference.

  20. I actually enjoyed the Star Wars kid video and all of the remixes that came out of it. I am sure there are millions of fans that think the opposite of what all those bullies said and did to this guy.

    Star Wars kid, every time I see your video I want to be a kid again, just goofing around having a good care-free time.

    One only has to type in star wars kid remix, on youtube and their day will surely brighten up, that says a lot in these days.

  21. This comment was deleted.

    • He’s Canadian, idiot.

  22. The point is: when FX were later added on the video. It was more than descent.

  23. How does he know I am surrounded by people who love me? Maybe he was- nobody likes me. I am a waste of real estate and oxygen. I don’t pop myself because I know THIS is as good as it is ever going to get and dying is just like passing out. I have come extremely close before- there are no angels, there is no god, just black

    • Try working out,at a gym, people around, it helps a bit. Then after a while try helping someone, not sure about the second piece of advice, social stuff is hard, I’m trying it. Or if you are getting bullied fight the strongest bully. But this is from someone who fought and won, haven’t heard from bully fighter who lost, just turns into another same old day I guess.

    • There are a billion people on the internet. You are of course surrounded by positive people.

      It’s just hard to notice sometimes, for the few jerks that stand out, or the depression and self-doubt that clouds sight.

  24. I just watched the video again about five times on youtube and it is internet gold.

  25. Seriously? you’d take your own life because of something like this? that is some dumb shit…. first world problems are just too funny

    • Dude, come on. He was 14. Being a teenager sucks enough already without having half a world of bullies dumped on your head.

    • he lost what few friends he had because of this. think about that. and at 14 you were so sure of yourself that if you lost all your friends and the rest of the school was telling you to kill yourself, that you wouldn’t have even thought about it? methinks you’re one of the assholes that would laugh AT the video rather than WITH it. piss off.

  26. Je pense comme Missy. Cruauté chez les jeunes c’est fréquent.

  27. Mr. Raza, I saw all that back then and I was appalled. I am glad you came to understand human packs can be assholes and it does not reflect on you, it reflects on them. And it was a pretty sweet vid in an awwww cute, kid having fun sort of way.

  28. Big respect to the Star Wars kid! We personally thought you were cool!

  29. Star Wars Kid was hilarious back then, something to get inspired from. I thought that made you the coolest kid in the block. It’s saddening to hear that the performer was bullied for that video. Perhaps it’s time for correction.

  30. “Almost 1 billion people know him” yeah totally…

  31. Raza, if you ever read this, I loved your video and make me laugh my ass off. I always considers your cojones to be grand.
    Don’t forget you made a lot of people laugh.

  32. He should be int he next movie…. revenge is sweet.

  33. I have a question for Ghyslain. I know that developers at Raven software took the Star Wars Kid video and added real Star Wars sound effects and light saber glows, and sparks. It elevated the movie to a new level. Did some of the “good attention” – creative things that are not making fun of the kid but simply running with an internet meme – did this help the situation at all ? I know in a certain way obviously this fueled the sensation – but did Ghyslain ever see a brighter side to this at all ? I always liked that retouched one because it showed a weird sort of respect to the meme, like a sort of moral post-production as opposed to something malicious or cruel. Maybe I am way off base I need to read the full article.

  34. man, that video was fun. I never ever felt like I was laughing AT him though… jeez, I can’t imagine the type of person that would! pretty sad world in that respect. glad he pulled through, and really glad he’s speaking out.

    and, yes, he SHOULD get a small part in the new film as the ultimate FU to his bullies.

    like Mahir, the patron saint of the meme once said, I kiss you!

  35. I never saw the video … but I just watched it and I thought…nothing. So what. Some kid was having fun, it looked a little silly, so what. I’m sure I’d look silly doing some stuff. If anyone condemned this guy for this, much less suggested suicide, they may need to consider some kind of therapy. But then again, I read comment threads in political arenas all the time and judging from the amount of vitriol I see, towards the topic and more importantly towards each other who have differing perspectives, a lot of people could probably use some therapy. This human race of ours seems to be a bit misguided pretty often. And I’m being kind in my expression.

  36. “Raza, now a law-school graduate from McGill…”

    That line right there is the revenge against all the worthless cro-mags that made fun of him. Those that mocked him in the common room will be filling Raza’s Mercedes with gas.

    • But they were just kids too. With kids, sometimes the bully is the kid who gets beat up at home, you know?

    • hey bud you misspelled ”rusted out Corolla” there.

  37. It’s easy to forget that children are monsters. Humanity is still survival of the fittest when you get down to it. If you are not tough as nails, you’ll just be eaten. What’s the big deal? The softies need to be eaten. It’s the order of things. Imagine the absolute worst qualities of the human race, now remember that kids have to learn why that stuff isn’t ok.. And the degenerate kids learn by doing it all the time.

    Teachers are powerless to prevent bullying. The only way to stop bullying problem is to teach kids that fighting back to stop bullying is the right thing to do. There needs to be teacher sponsored “fight clubs”, where the bullies can get smacked down. So the quiet introverts can focus on their studies.

  38. All kids need to learn to fight in school, and if they are bullied, you have to punish the offenders. Since there is no judicial system to fight bullies in school (like there is slander cases in court) the kids have to find some outlet to solve their problems.

    I use the “three strikes and your out” method for bullying. Step 1 you use the available system, notify the correct authorities that are responsible for maintaining peace. That clearly doesn’t work because they are overworked, understaffed and underpaid. Step 2: You get it in writing, include the letters to the teachers, principals as well as the parents of the offending child that if the bullying continues, there will be volatile consequences that can’t be predicted because we are dealing with children here. Step 3, having taken your kid to judo class, encourage the fight, but make sure your kid is setup for winning with the appropriate equipment, mouth guard/teeth guard. Then next time the bulllying happens, in front of the teachers, in front of the students, doesn’t really matter, next time it comes to a head, start swinging for the head. Knockout blows are encouraged and illicit extra points.

    This will unleash holy hell from all levels of the school. Citations, suspensions, expulsions, all that good stuff. Alll the stuff that the teachers think keep kids in line, but don’t. If the kid gets expelled.. So what? Find a new school. Move and get a school that isn’t retarded.

    Congratulate and remind the bullied kid that no peace in this world has ever been achieved without the sudden use of unrestrained and unbashful violence to be witnessed by all.

    History buffs will not want to agree, but be forced to.

  39. Just watched the video and it was funny… However it is sad that posting this on YouTube gets him ridiculed and bullied, while if he went on a TV show such as America’s Got Talent, he would become an instant star.

  40. It gets better!

  41. Ghyslain, you are awesome. The reason that video went viral is that it was so utterly normal – it could have been any of us. Move on from this tiny footnote and be something great. Sounds like you’re on your way! There is a special place in hell for people who write mean things online, and you won’t be there. :)

  42. It’s pretty frightening what kids are capable of doing to each other, and the level of cruelty that someone (potentially) so young can be capable of. I would say the ‘Star Wars kid’ has a great deal to be proud of. He brought himself through all the hell that those people put him through – and he’s graduated law school… that’s a difficult task by any standard.

    Yet I must agree with a previous poster as well. Our society can be VERY hypocritical about bullying. We say how unacceptable we find that type of behavior to be, but too often people laugh when they should not, and when the moment comes that they should help stop bullying, they remain silent.

    (More) People need to speak up. Not just on the ‘net, or in personal conversations, but in the outside world. Bullying will, unfortunately, never be stopped, but we need to at least help children find ways to make their way through (and past) the horrible treatment they may receive from their peers.

    So many people make such a big deal about bullying… but when the time comes to do something about it, they try to ignore it… just like so many people used to tell their children.

    “Just ignore them. They’ll leave you alone if you ignore them. They won’t have any fun if they don’t get a reaction out of you…”

    And when you do that, sadly, you’ll get hit (or some other form of mistreatment) instead.

    Mr. Raza has a lot to be proud of. He’s got a lot of heart, and a lot of strength to be come past people telling him to do something so horrific to himself.

    All my respect, Mr. Raza.

  43. I have to be honest, in the early 2000’s, when the video and all it’s edited versions came out, me and my friends were watching every single versions of it and we were laughing as hell. Stop being hypocrite, everybody was laughing at it at that time.

    Back then, cyberbullying and it’s effect was something unknown. The society changes over the time, people see bullied ones committing suicide in the news, we are more aware or its effects. At that moment, laughing at this young clumsy guy was something normal, laughing at it today would also be normal (in my opinion), but bullying that young guy has never been and would never be something smart.

    For today’s young generation who discovers this video, they may laugh, but they are educated about it, they’ll probably see it in an other eye than we did in the past years. Since Ghislain’s story is now known, people are probably less mean with him.

    I wonder though if the lil’ guys who put this video on the Internet feel ashame or if they sort of have hard feelings because they had been sued? They’ll probably laugh at it all together when they’ll be old men.

  44. I was bullied as a kid. It hurts, sometimes for life. I still suffer with depression. And this is in the age before cyberbullying.

    Mr. Raza, I COMMEND YOU for not letting the bullying or the depression stop you from achieving your dreams and making your life as magnificent as you deserve for it to be. I did the same, and I hope all kids can.

    I laughed at this video when it came out (and I was an adult then) – not AT Mr. Raza but WITH him because his pantomime was so FANTASTICALLY ACCURATE and FULL OF ENTHUSIASM.

    It is awful (I daresay, a crime) that people hiding behind the anonymity of the internet would recommend he commit suicide for having an interest and enjoying himself.

  45. I would love to know this thoughts and feelings, now and at the time, watching many of us “nerds” rallied around him and his image. Many of us made him our “hero” at the time and now.


  46. anything about the Angry German Kid?

  47. I don’t get why they were so mean and telling him to kill himself…in Canada no less. Yes the video was embarrassing and I understand making fun of him for it but why couldn’t they all laugh together? Why did they harass him for YEARS!? Crazy.

  48. Bro, major props on your love of Star Wars. Keep your spirits up. It’s a tough world but your presence in it made it better.

  49. I don’t get it.. I thought “Star Wars Kid” was brilliant.. it’s a shame he didn’t get to post it himself and definitely didn’t deserve any sort of bullying. I say he does a parody of his original and post it on YouTube as a virtual finger to people who bully :P.

  50. I never understood what the big deal was. I thought he showed skill’s in the video. The Afro Ninja and many others made bigger fools of themselves. As for people telling him to commit suicide, this was the early days of Youtube trolling. I wonder how many complementary or thanks for the laugh comments there were?

  51. That’s too bad that it affected him so much. Surprised actually, I thought he was awesome in that video, and being one of the first Internet viral stars is awesome. I wonder if things would be different had he gone viral today, when millions of people are doing silly things on Youtube to get even a sliver of the attention he got. Or in the age where Rebecca Black, who was also 14 years old when she became infamous for “Friday” and received far more hate messages than he ever did, ended up getting a recording contract, a million fans on Twitter, a starring role with Katy Perry and her own Wikipedia page. So it can be pretty cool to go viral today.

    But hey, sounds like he’s turned things around with law school, so hopefully one day he might be able to look back at that video with a smile like many of us did. :)

  52. Even the Jedi Knight’s need lawyers eh? Who knew?

  53. Exactly. And every single person that made fun of him would have had some embarrasing video if cameras had been on at the right time.

    I think the main problem is mob mentality. People and especially teenagers are never more cruel when they get together and get caught up in a downward spiral of vicious one upmanship.

    I can only wonder what portion of the kids who made fun of him to his face are now lawyers.

    The Force is apparently with him, always.

  54. Raza – yes, the videos went everywhere, and yes, we watched and laughed, but not all of us did so with a “look at this idiot” attitude as you probably thought. Some of us thought you were awesome, and the fx and music added by others was even better. True Star Wars fans had respect for you. And of course, we felt bad when we found out that it hurt you. Unfortunately, you were young – so very understandable, but many of us had our own embarrassments in our lives at that age, trust me, Ive got a couple stories that were quite painful at that age for me, and while not totally the same, I think a lot of us watched, laughed, and thought, “yeah, Ive done stupid stuff like this and wouldnt want anyone seeing it.” Respect for getting through it, as many of us do as we grow up. Just let me be another example, for you to now know, some of us truly thought you were awesome and would only feel honored to shake your hand.

  55. I would love to see you make another video doing the same thing but as an older more mature wiser man who can throw it all back in the bullies face. I would love to see him spoof himself and laugh and have fun with no longer being a victim to the bullies. I would love to see him make tons of money off of the new video spoofing himself. I hope he litigates bullies I can not stand bullies. It’s too bad none of his friends at school didn’t take a stand for him by turning it into a funny video that made him popular instead of an outcast. Great to know you are alive and happy. Peace!

  56. This guy is a hero for standing up about this stuff. That there takes balls. My hat’s off to this guy.

  57. Here’s why laughing at it IS wrong. Because when you laugh at someone, it changes something in your head and way of thinking…the object of your laughter becomes something “less”. Reducing another person to something less, seeing them as an “other” then becomes part of who you are and it becomes easier and easier to do. You can see this effect right here in the comments to this story…one person says “I laughed at it, it’s no big deal” and then more and more people chime in and say “yeah, there’s nothing wrong with it” and suddenly there you have it – the very thing that makes it possible for thousands and thousands of people to invade another persons privacy, belittle them, ridicule them, and take away their humanity. Through a mob mentality you’ve AGAIN victimized this fellow human being. And yes – I fully expect that the same response will come to this comment. People will attack me and vote my comment down, etc. I don’t care. You are wrong to laugh at videos like this and then justify your bad behavior. What do you do when confronted with a video like this? 1st – don’t watch it. 2nd – if you can’t stop yourself and your involuntary reaction is to laugh – remind yourself “that’s not funny, this poor person has had a private moment hijacked and spread around. not cool”. 3rd – DO NOT spread the video around even more. Stop yourself…then move on with your day. If you want to laugh at something, thousands of people have created comedy that they share for free online. Find THAT and help someone build a career.

  58. I didn’t think the video was anything to be mean about–he was goofing around and having fun. Who WOULDN’T do that if they got their mitts on a light saber? The idiots who posted the insults and told him to kill himself? They’re the ones who aren’t worth having around. They’re selfish, entitled jerks who think their s*** smells like roses. Ten years later they’re probably still acting that way, only now it’s at work. I’m glad Raza is doing well.

  59. If anyone is qualified to speak out against cyberbullying its “Star Wars Kid”

  60. Honestly, I have done way weirder stuff in my life than playing a Jedi Knight. And I’m sure most of you have too. Kids have amazing imaginations. Many of their ideas eventually become the next great thing we all want to have. Good for him speaking out to victims of cyber-bullying.

  61. I don’t think he has issue with it being funny or not. His issue is what people did to him as a result of seeing it. On top of it all is the fact that it was done without his knowledge to start with. At the very least those individuals should have had his back when the crap hit the fan.

  62. I wish he could have licensed the video, made millions, and then showed up to school every day in a helicopter. Seriously. Years later, Ghyslain is still more of a recognizable icon than most of the flash-in-the-pan reality TV stars.

    Disney should give him a spot in the next Star Wars movie.

  63. studies have shown that bullies – regardless of stations in life (even govt people – dictators etc – “my word is the last word”) are spineless, vindictive, lack self-confidence, lack self-worth, & often need thugs for protection/ laws are enacted etc but seldom carried out/ always excuses especially for social medias/ so unless there are gutsy ethical moral people in govt little will improve/

    • I’ll admit I haven’t read any studies on the matter. Nevertheless I’m inclined to disagree with your claim that bullies are ‘spineless’ and ‘lack self-confidence’ – if only because most of us have been in the bullies role, and most of us are not spineless or lacking in self-confidence.

      Belittling bullies is bullying bullies. Are you a bully?

  64. So let me get this straight. This fellow does a performance that was entertaining enough to go viral and entertain millions without intending to and instead of getting pats on the back for the admirable and impressive performance I saw people did this to him?

    The defect is not with the performer or the performance but with those antisocial jerks who were totally lacking in insight.

    • I agree. Yes, it was funny, but in a way, not too bad considering he did not have Yoda to train him. A few balance exercises and he might not have been so funny. I know I couldn’t do that without knocking myself out.

  65. Hey mate, I loved the video and it brought be a ton of happiness. I did the same thing a million times with a broom, and really identified with you! Good on you and so happy to hear you doing so well.

  66. What the hell was wrong with his video?

    • The wrong was never with the video.. it was with the people who watched the video. As always.

  67. Shame all this anti-bullying activism wasn’t around when he and I were still young victims. I can only hope the next generation fares better…

  68. Youth today can be unreasonably cruel, probably owing to the anonymity of the internet. There’s nothing in the video that kids haven’t done since mirrors were invented and it’s hard to imagine it’s a reason for ridicule. At least this kid brought a lot of online joy to people, most of whom would have thanked the “Star Wars” kid for it- it might have been embarrassing, though nothing to be ashamed- or suicidal- over. So-called “Cyberbullying” goes too far sometimes on the victim’s side who are looking to an anonymous online public for validation they should be getting from their families and friends. Before they start swinging light sabers, kids should know about “sticks n stones.” btw Anyone notice this kid also has a “Star Wars” sounding name? I hope to hear it somewhere in the upcoming trilogy.

  69. I think this kid is great! Kick ass bud.

  70. I hope that Mr. Raza reads these comments. Being the subject of bullying in school as well, I can very easily understand how horrible the bullying could have been. I remember seeing the Star Wars Kid video, and many of the parodies, and thought they were great. The original video was of a kid having fun. He was a nerd, like I was, and he obviously had passion for something he loved. My favorite parodies were the ones that edited in lightsaber visual and audio effects, and they were done very well.

    That being said, thank you Mr. Raza for providing that entertainment. Thank you for surviving the resulting bullying you received, and thank you for showing that bullying isn’t the end, and that things do get better after school, and that you can be successful in life. I greatly respect you for that, and wish you all the best.

  71. I thought that video was pretty cute – its a shame that people have to be so judgmental and cruel to their own.

  72. I think the kid was courageous and fun. It is really sad that he had to go through that. BUT now he is a Law School Graduate so all those F##$%^# can suck it!

  73. I had no idea! I saw that video and LOVED that kid for it! He was so full of imagination and having such fun pretending! How sad others reacted so differently and betrayed his privacy by posting the video without his knowledge or permission. I hope he knows that others saw him as a kid inspired to be a hero by his affection for Star Wars.

  74. Starwars kid drunken jedi, he looks awesome!

  75. My first thought when a friend showed me this video: ‘Doesn’t everybody kick imaginary-ass in private?’

    Graduating from McGill Law is one way to show people you can also kick ass in RL.

  76. Bravo Ghyslain! Courageux d’avoir brisé le silence. Now you story will inspire millions across the world.

  77. From the article in the magazine:

    …a Quebec television channel looped the video while the guests commented on it. They gave my last name, my first name, my hometown and the name of my school.

    Funny, if he’d have beaten someone to death with that “light saber”, the media would have been prohibited by law from identifying him. But since he did nothing wrong, the media was allowed to publicly identify him and expose him to humiliation and possible danger, with absolutely no consequences whatsoever.

    • Good point

  78. This article is important and shouldn’t be limited to the print version. Please put the entire article online.

  79. Kuddos to this kid!! I understand that the video was funny, but to be “attacked” and kids laughing at him for doing what most of them did in their basement is totally ridiculous. The kid has balls coming out like this and that’s what makes this story great!

    If he can help 1 kid he becomes a hero to that kid’s parents. Congrats to him!

  80. Can’t be more than a million people in the history of civilization as well known as this guy was in Jr. High, for playing with his toys. I thought the video was cool, but that fact is way cooler.. Who were the loosers who told him to commit suicide anyways? Never heard

  81. He has succeeded where Anakin failed.

  82. What the devil means for harm, God will use for good, when we let Him. Raza I hope you get really serious about using your experience to help others who are going through this. You have the means and people will listen to you. Don’t let all your pain be in vain :)

  83. Everyone of us have done things we regret, Life goes on, no one cares.

  84. Protect many victims, this law student will. Hmmmmmm.

  85. If I recall correctly – I signed a petition to try and get him into the newest Start Wars movie at the time. at least 100,000 people were on that petition. I never thought poorly of him – could have easily seen myself doing the same thing if I was bored.

  86. I thought it was cool.

  87. …and while many others would have become bitter and angry, this fellow learned compassion for other victims of bullying. *applause*

  88. Sounds like hes more successful now then all the kids that made fun of him, kinda funny how things can turn around.

  89. Way to represent McGill University, alumni supports you.

  90. Maybe I’m the naive one here, but I didn’t think it was that serious…I didn’t know the kids in his school were screwing with him as bad as the people on the internet. It’s a funny video about a kid having an awkward moment. I thought it was funny not out of spite, but because I’ve done stupid things like that too…

    I’m glad he’s strong enough to speak about his experience now, but honestly? Telling a kid to kill himself because he’s chunky and emulating Star Wars? There were be almost no advances in social media and technology if that were to happen in actuality.

  91. After reading this article last night I decided to have a look at the video on youtube. Within the two hours previous to my looking, there were two comments posted telling him to kill himself. Sad.

  92. they should link to the vieo

  93. sorry to hear that, I feel bad now that I realise how much you were hurt by this, but really it did make you famous, you have to see the good side to it. I wish I went viral for something like this.

  94. Well, we all did some stupid stuff in our teens. The Star Wars kid Vid is not as stupid as some things that I have done. But please Raza, LOOSE THE WEIGHT!

    • Please Keyser, LEARN TO SPELL…”lose” not “loose”.

  95. Bullies are not natural leaders or are they well adjusted. They are not loners either. They are narcissistic manipulators. They are intelligent and thrive on adoration. They have a low opinion of themselves but they will do what ever it takes not to let anyone know that and to do that they belittle others who threaten what they lack. I have witnessed it, experienced it and have studied it. I have been around for over 4 decades.