'Star Wars Kid' Sues, Settles Lawsuit Over Web Video
Completely off-topic but since it's a weekend, here goes. It seems as though the "Star Wars kid," a roly-poly French Canadian boy whose awkward copying of a light saber fight made him into an ironic web celebrity, apparently wasn't happy with being made the object of fun. (Or was it that the petition to get him into the third SW prequel failed?)
In any case, Ghyslain Raza, now 18, reached a settlement with three former schoolmates who put out the video which has since spawned scads of derivative works. The deal, whose terms are not known, averted a lawsuit that was supposed to go to trial Monday. Canada's Globe and Mail has the story:
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. [...]
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.
Under questioning, Mr. Laflamme and Mr. Rheault conceded their role in spreading a video that Mr. Raza, then 15, had made of himself and left on a shelf in the school TV studio.
Mr. Laflamme said he discovered the tape in April of 2003, when he took school equipment to film a varsity football game.
He showed the tape to Mr. Rheault, who made a copy of it.
"I thought it'd be an interesting prank . . . I wanted Ghyslain to know what I knew of him, what I had seen," Mr. Laflamme said.
"All I did was take the cassette, digitize it on the studio computer to pull a joke on Ghyslain. After that, I had nothing to do with it," Mr. Rheault said he later told the school principal after the controversy erupted.
He said that when a school counsellor confronted him about Mr. Raza's misfortunes, he replied, "It's no fun what happened here, but that's the problem with the Internet. Things travel fast."
Mr. Caron, who says he didn't even know the two other pranksters, said in examination that as the tape was being e-mailed among students, he created a website and posted the video on it.
According to court filings, the video first appeared on the Internet on the evening of April 14, 2003.