What the Hell Happened To: The ‘Star Wars Kid’ [ANSWERS INSIDE!]

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As reporters/journalists/chroniclers of all things “new media” NMR is often people’s source for questions, such as: “What the hell happened to the ‘diarrhea jacuzzi girl’?” Oftentimes, we can’t answer questions like this because we don’t friggin’ know. Frequently, there aren’t any answers because they dropped offline and stopped making/showing up in videos.

But these people/animals/objects are an important part of the culture. Where would we be without “diarrhea jacuzzi girl”? I’ll answer that: nowhere. And so what we want to do, as often as we can, is track down these people/animals/objects so that you can get some closure in your life. Also because one day, it might be the answer that gets you a “pink pie” in Trivial Pursuit at some future Thanksgiving “Family Game Night” and we want to play our part in that. So join us as we hunt down some answers in our recurring weekend feature “What the Hell Happened To __________________?”

This week, we find out what the hell happened to the “Star Wars Kid.”

One of the most influential clips ever offered up by YouTube, the Star Wars kid was probably singlehandedly responsible for the rise of e-bullying in its modern form. Footage of a chubby dork using a golf ball retriever as a bo-staff and just obliviously going nuts on invisible enemies was the video in its early stages — the real joy came when people began to f**k with the footage and put their own hilarious touches on it. The most famous of all of these additions was by Brian Dube, a game developer, who added lightsaber visuals and noise effects. Those additions sent this video into the stratosphere — much to the chagrin of the boy who was wielding that club in the first place.

 The kid, Ghyslain Raza, had made the footage for himself but accidentally left the tape in the video camera. His fellow students discovered it and uploaded it to Kazaa. It has gone on to become one of the most viewed YouTube clips of all time. G4’s “Attack of the Show” named it the number one video of all time. But Raza didn’t embrace his celebrity in the early days of YouTube — on the contrary, he sued the classmates who uploaded the footage — and got an out-of-court settlement.

Raza disappeared off the map after receiving harassing messages from internet trolls telling him to kill himself. He, according to Know Your Meme, ended up finishing high school in a psychiatric ward. Damn, right?

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He moved on from that though and ended up pursuing a law degree in his native Canada, focusing on environmental issues as president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières heritage society rather than busting YouTube bullies. Gaza has mostly continued to stay out of the media limelight, but briefly checked in with a Quebec magazine, L’Actualite in 2013, a decade after his video first appeared on the scene. Fortunately for Raza, if you want to escape YouTube, you mostly have to avoid making videos. As the Google Trends chart below demonstrates, after a while, people will mostly just forget about you.

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Not NMR though.

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