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'Star Wars Kid' cuts a deal with his tormentors


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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060407.wxstarwars07/BNStory/National/home

'Star Wars Kid' cuts a deal with his tormentors

TU THANH HA From Friday's Globe and Mail

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QUE. — As Ghyslain Raza recalled, whenever he walked by his high school's common areas, other students would jump on tables and chant, "Star Wars Kid! Star Wars Kid!"

There would be a commotion as they shouted and poked at him, trying to get a reaction. "It was simply unbearable," he said.

An otherwise ordinary teen in this Quebec small town, Mr. Raza had become a worldwide object of ridicule when schoolmates put on the Internet a video of him clumsily pretending to be a Star Wars character.

Three years later, Mr. Raza and his parents this week reached an out-of-court settlement with the families of three former schoolmates they had sued for $351,000 in damages.

The settlement annuls a civil trial set to begin on Monday that would have scrutinized one of the world's first and most-publicized cases of cyber-bullying.

However, documents filed in the case at the Trois-Rivières courthouse give new details about how a mean-spirited high-school prank turned into a global Internet cause célèbre.

Specifics of the settlement remain confidential.

Lawyers for the three schoolmates had suffered a setback after they were not allowed to introduce as evidence a transcript of a phone conversation Mr. Raza had with a blogger, Jishnu Mukerji.

The blogger had posted a transcript of the exchange on the Internet.

Conducted a month after the video and parodies of it began circulating, the conversation has Mr. Raza calling the spoofs "interesting" but not expressing much distress.

However, a judge rejected a bid to table a transcript of the chat and Mr. Mukerji was not available to testify.

The documents include transcripts of examinations under oath of Mr. Raza and of three students accused of circulating the video, Michaël Caron, Jérôme Laflamme and Jean-Michel Rheault.

(Proceedings against a fourth, François Labarre, were dropped after Mr. Raza acknowledged that the allegations against that student were based on hearsay.)

In the transcripts, Mr. Raza said the experience left him unable to attend school.

"It was simply unbearable, totally. It was impossible to attend class," Mr. Raza said.

He said the situation left him feeling drained of energy, and that he let himself go and no longer lifted weights to keep fit.

He said he was diagnosed with depression by a pedopsychiatrist at Montreal's Sainte-Justine Hospital and his lawyers, in their fillings, said they wanted to have a psychiatrist and a psychologist testify, along with producing his medical file.

More after the jump!

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He said the situation left him feeling drained of energy, and that he let himself go and no longer lifted weights to keep fit.

I could be wrong, but I don't recall him looking particularly fit at the time he made the video either.

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Damn, it's sad that you'd ask that, a case where a kid is being tormented for being a kid and you jostle in saying "Lemme see! Lemme see!"

Booo hooo. Go cry me a river. Do you know how many videos are out there that make fun of people. The kid was probably just out to get money. You act like hes the only kid ever to be tormented. Is he your son or something?

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Booo hooo. Go cry me a river. Do you know how many videos are out there that make fun of people. The kid was probably just out to get money. You act like hes the only kid ever to be tormented. Is he your son or something?

:laugh:

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Booo hooo. Go cry me a river. Do you know how many videos are out there that make fun of people. The kid was probably just out to get money. You act like hes the only kid ever to be tormented. Is he your son or something?
Can you name ONE that matches the spread of this one? The fact is the video wasn't theirs, they took it anyway. When you start off on the wrong foot you are responsible for what follows.
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The problem here wasn't so much that there was a prank as it was the ammount of ridicule that the kid recieved, and continues to recieve, as a result of this prank. If he indeed was diagnosed with depression then I say that these kids deserve to be punnished, and frankly I feel that the cost of the punnishment should extend to those who tormented him in school as well, since they are the ones that caused most of the direct emotional damage.

In the pranksters defense they likely didn't have a clue as to how widespread this video would have become. In reality the probobly thought it would get a few laughs and maybe embarass the kid for maybe a week. They need to be punnished for their actions but shouldn't be punnished for unforseeable concequences.

Those of you who reacted with no concern for this kid were likely never on the recieving end of ridicule durring your school years. You were likely never the most hated or least popular kid in school. Frankly having been there I think I am stronger for it now, but the description of what this kid has had to endure on a daily basis astounds even me.

These kids should have to pay for all his psyciatrist bills that he has recieved and will recieve in the future.

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money doesnt matter......the kid will be forever own3d!!!!!

you cant put a price tag on that, well maybe 300,000 plus.....i hope he doesnt blow his cash too fast!!!!

who cares, it will go away in time, and this kid will be sitting pretty :) heck he might even make more money off it in the future, maybe George will call him :silly:

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nice work unsonny :notworthy

and how did the bullies get a hold of this video in the first place? the kid is an idiot to make something like that and deserves whatever he gets. not that I am a bully, but come on- if you don't want people to see you acting a fool then don't act a fool- or at least don't RECORD it.

and yes, he was a fat slob before they taunted him :doh:

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How litigious can you get? I mean honestly, that video isn't that big of a deal. What a jerk. He acts like the only person that has ever been pranked. Theres worse videos of people out there. Get over yourself Ghyslain.

The whole world saw the prank and can access the prank whenever they want. Let that sink in before you call him a jerk. I feel bad for the kid.

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nice work unsonny :notworthy

and how did the bullies get a hold of this video in the first place? the kid is an idiot to make something like that and deserves whatever he gets. not that I am a bully, but come on- if you don't want people to see you acting a fool then don't act a fool- or at least don't RECORD it.

and yes, he was a fat slob before they taunted him :doh:

And if a woman doesn't want to get raped, she shouldn't wear revealing clothes, right. :doh:

Give me a break. He made a private video. Why doesn't he have the right to have is privacy protected. This isn't typical teasing over a pimply face. The kids who took the video and made it public are the ones at fault. It's a shame you choose to blame the victim.

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