Star Wars Kid: Lightsabers, Cyberbullying and YouTube (15 years later)
Remember Star Wars Kid, that internet sensation; that pole-wielding home video that started circulating around the internet about 15 years ago? The video depicts a Canadian teenager, Ghyslain Raza, wielding a pole around as if it’s Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber. He’s wielding the pole in a captivatingly passionate and awkward way.
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The Star Wars Kid video likely blew up as a viral video due to combination of Raza’s awkwardness and his passion and dedication to wielding the ‘lightsaber’. The passionate awkwardness of the video feels relatable and accessible to the average Star Wars fan.
Unfortunately, the Star Wars Kid video was NOT originally posted with Ghyslain Raza’s permission. Raza recorded the video for fun and never expected the video to get released to the public on the internet. A classmate came into possession of the video and callously posted it online without Raza’s knowledge or consent. The posting of the Star Wars Kid video online remains a high profile example of cyberbullying.
Some initial reactions to Star Wars Kid were pretty bad for Raza. The video received some mean spirited comments and Raza was also bullied at school. But if you read through the comments section on the Star Wars Kid video on YouTube, many of the top the comments are positive and supportive, with people writing things like “That guy’s cool” or “I can really relate” or other supportive comments. Several YouTubers now mention their nostalgia for the video as well.
Even though Star Wars Kid started out as cyberbullying, the story ultimately takes positive turn. It’s gratifying to see Star Wars fans embracing the video.
By the way, Star Wars Kid Ghyslain Raza is all grown up now, of course. He finished school and earned a law degree.
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What do you think about Star Wars Kid as a very public example of cyberbullying? Why do you think Star Wars Kid went viral and seems to be taking on a life of its own?