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Star Wars kid suing
May 30, 2003 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Star Wars to Bar Wars. The Star Wars kid is suing, and the $4,000 collected for him may have to be returned. Always a shame to see the kindness of strangers pushed aside in favor of litigation. Good thing the money never got turned over...
posted by luser (82 comments total)

 
Huh? Did I miss something? Why would anyone give him money?

*blank stare*
posted by xmutex at 9:00 AM on May 30, 2003


Fundraiser info.
posted by luser at 9:03 AM on May 30, 2003


What legal angle can they take? Theft? Defamation?
posted by scarabic at 9:05 AM on May 30, 2003


A link explaining what this is all about would help. Between the two posted links above I gather that the Star Wars Kid is suing the people who collected money to buy him a new computer?? Or he is suing the people who posted his video on the web??

Why would anyone give him money?

Because the only girl that will go out with him after seeing that video is a paid escort.
posted by archimago at 9:19 AM on May 30, 2003


I'm sorry, but the very first thing I thought was, "Imagine the laughter that will assuredly escape from the whole of the courtroom once the video is shown as evidence."

Because, you know it's gonna be.
(How could you not at least giggle?)
posted by brittney at 9:25 AM on May 30, 2003


So he goes from being a nerd to a vindictive nerd? That should help his popularity.

If money (the fundraiser) wasn't involved, he would have been just like every person who has been hit in the nuts and appeared on America's Funniest Home videos and faded back into obscurity.

On preview, Brittney, I'd love to be a juror and keep requesting to see the video and all of the remixes.
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:28 AM on May 30, 2003


I have no idea what this is about. Are we supposed to know who this "Star Wars kid" is and why the money was collected? Lousy post.
posted by languagehat at 9:30 AM on May 30, 2003


Copied from my site:
"Update. We spoke to Ghyslain's lawyer this morning, and he assured us that any gifts we could send from our fundraising efforts are appreciated and welcomed. As a result, we'll buy the 30GB iPod (shipped direct from apple.ca) this weekend and spend the remainder of the funds on a FutureShop.ca (a Canadian electronics store) gift certificate in Ghyslain's name. These two gifts will be shipped to the lawyer's office in Ghyslain's name. For the items in the "Gift Bin", we will contact the contributors and ask that they ship the items directly."
posted by JISH at 9:31 AM on May 30, 2003


JISH, why would you folks go through with the gifts? To me, the litigation pretty much negates any goodwill I have for the guy. I donated $20 (waxy) because I thought he was a great sport for NOT doing something like suing or demanding the video come down. However, his behaviour (or his parents' behaviour) makes me regret it. What a load of nonsense.
posted by dobbs at 9:35 AM on May 30, 2003


C'est pas hypercool, Ghyslain.

Je suis d'accord, dobbs. (I agree.)
posted by gramcracker at 9:38 AM on May 30, 2003


NYTimes article about The Star Wars Kid.
See the videos here.
posted by brittney at 9:39 AM on May 30, 2003


Instantly, he goes from being the nerdy kid we can all sympathize with, to being a litigious little prick (or the son of a litigious mother) who I hope gets laughed out of the courts. Glad now that I didn't donate a cent.
posted by Hildago at 9:44 AM on May 30, 2003


Just change it from 'ipod fund' to 'legal fund' and you're good to go.
posted by nwduffer at 9:48 AM on May 30, 2003


I knew that fat little bastard was up to no good. He was obviously aligned with the Empire.
posted by websavvy at 9:48 AM on May 30, 2003


So, people were going to give him money cos he wasn't going to sue and was taking in good humor the public and global ridicule and now he is going to sue so he's not getting the money and now the fundraisers are not so humored and jesus, what?

Back to sleep.
posted by xmutex at 9:53 AM on May 30, 2003


I bet this lawyer read the original stories and contacted the family with the promises of big money, which his parents fell for. If his parents were really interested in his well-being they wouldn't drag this out any longer and just move on. This could ruin his teenage years instead of just being a meme-of-the-week that would be quickly forgotten.

Jish, I think you and Andy might want to contact everyone that donated before spending any of the money, I bet most will prefer to retract their donation now that it has become a fiasco.
posted by mathowie at 9:57 AM on May 30, 2003


An after thought,

1) Make embarassing, humiliating, low-as-you-can-go video
2) Leak said video to friends with malicious intent
3) ???
4) PROFIT!!!!!
posted by xmutex at 9:57 AM on May 30, 2003


At least now we've got an answer to that pressing question, Who is suing mathowie?

Man, I hope alla you who kept reposting that thing are happy now. Look what you've done!
posted by soyjoy at 10:18 AM on May 30, 2003


i've never seen why this kid should be embarrassed of this video, it's awesome.
it's not like he beat off into an ewok puppet or anything.
posted by Peter H at 10:22 AM on May 30, 2003


Oh my god, Peter H, who showed you my video?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2003


Copied from my site:
Update #2: In light of the recent events, several people have inquired about refunds. We will be e-mailing everyone that donated shortly to inform them about the recent events and give them the opportunity to request a refund. Any refund request made by midnight PST on Monday, June 2, 2003 will be honored. The remainder of the funds will be used as detailed in the update above.
posted by JISH at 10:29 AM on May 30, 2003


God damn it. No way they could just let it go, let the kid shrug it off and collect a little sympathy schwag and have a good story to tell. Everything gets turned into a fucking TV movie of the week now.

If it weren't for the fact they speak French, I'd have sworn these folks were Americans.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:36 AM on May 30, 2003


Who are the morons who gave this kid money in the first place and why are they allowed to continue using up my air?
posted by xmutex at 10:39 AM on May 30, 2003


Always a shame to see the kindness of strangers pushed aside in favor of litigation.

How is it kindness? A bunch of people used his likeness for their amusement without his consent. That seems unkosher to me, and it's not crazy to demand compensation for it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:46 AM on May 30, 2003


The poor shlep probably could have banked a shitload more by embracing the meme rather than fighting it.

Star Wars Kid does...The Matrix!

Star Wars Kid does...Wolverine!

And so forth.
posted by Cyrano at 10:51 AM on May 30, 2003


Maybe now would be a good time for them to take the video clips off-line.
posted by hyperizer at 10:51 AM on May 30, 2003


Eek, I have them hosted at my site.

Maybe I should take them down...
posted by brittney at 10:54 AM on May 30, 2003


oh man, I hope I'm never the subject of a NYTimes article whose url is DORK.HTML.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:54 AM on May 30, 2003


Here's a link to the video that's not bittorrent, and hence won't make your PC into a shitty video server.

I think I prefer the edited version myself... much less sad. Poor fat kids, I feel so bad for them. First, marketing geniuses make them want oreos, whoppers, fries, etc. Then marketing geniuses make them feel like shit for being fat, leading to diet pills, etc. Then it's on to the anti-depressants. Gross.
posted by zekinskia at 10:55 AM on May 30, 2003


Yes, those poor, fat pawns.
posted by websavvy at 10:58 AM on May 30, 2003


Well, and who knows how SWK feels about suing, or if it's his parents, really.

I'm sure he'll be thrilled to get the gifts.
posted by dreamling at 10:59 AM on May 30, 2003


This kid isn't allowed to be an acronym. There are only so many TLAs to go around and he doesn't deserve one of them.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:07 AM on May 30, 2003


Hey, xmutex (or anyone, really), I keep seeing this in Mefi posts. What's the origin? Also, why is stage 3 always question marked?
posted by jonson at 11:24 AM on May 30, 2003


ROU_Xenophobe: "kindness of strangers"=people who donated to take the sting out of the kid's embarrassment.

xmutex, languagehat: if you don't understand what a post is about, one good thing to do is just crap the thread. The impertinence of posters who would dare speak of things beyond your experience!!!
posted by luser at 11:25 AM on May 30, 2003


So an attorney has tempted Eve once more.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2003


Johnson, it's some kind of in joke that denotes a badly thought out business plan. Stage 3 is a set of question marks, showing that the business plan depends upon unknown variables to become profitable.

EX:
1) Teach monkeys to ride dogs like horses
2) Train the dogs to love peanut-butter
3) ????
4) Profit!

I've no clue where this comes from. I figure that enough Mefites where dot-com people and this was the average structure of a ebusiness plan circa 1997. It's just a slow burning meme that finally bubbled its way to the top of the pot.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:41 AM on May 30, 2003


I personally never thought the video was something to make fun of, just sweet. I admired his passion. I'm more embarrassed for jocks in high school who think that throwing a ball around makes them important--but I can imagine that most of the kids in the US and Canada don't feel the same way.

Not that I necessarily agree with the litigation, but I don't know all the facts. I would be interested to know, from the people who have talked to him, how he's been treated since this thing went global. Perhaps the parents should have waited until he got made fun of so much that he committed suicide before suing? Do people not remember how cruel high school kids can be?
posted by witchstone at 11:46 AM on May 30, 2003


I don't expect he was Mr. Popularity before this tape got leaked out... After the leak he probably got laughed at constantly. Once word got out of the money being raised for him, probably quiet resentment, a sense of karma.. Now he'll just get the shit beat out of him.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:50 AM on May 30, 2003


EX:
1) Teach monkeys to ride dogs like horses
2) Train the dogs to love peanut-butter
3) ????
4) Profit!

I've no clue where this comes from.


It's a South Park reference [.wav file].
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:53 AM on May 30, 2003


In this culture, unfortunately, money = dignity.

The kid will feel he's lost something, until he gets money.

And unfortunately, the people who sought to compensate him by giving him money are only perpetuating this.
posted by scarabic at 11:56 AM on May 30, 2003


ursus beat me to it, but here's the script.

Internet memes 101: anything that can't be traced back to The Simpsons can be traced back to South Park; if not, it comes from Japanese video games.
posted by yhbc at 12:05 PM on May 30, 2003


"In this culture, unfortunately, money = dignity. "

Correction, in this case the money was for a specific purpose:

ipod=dignity
posted by jlynford2 at 12:08 PM on May 30, 2003


1. Hey, look at this kid. Let's make fun of him.
2. Hey, let's broadcast making fun of this kid to the entire planet.
3. Hey, let's turn this kid into a very icon of mockery as a result of our massive and repetetive mockery of him.

4. What? He's upset? How dare he! Greedy bastard.

You know, I really, REALLY want to join in on the mass "god, aren't lawsuits horrible, let's destroy the punitive damages system as we know it" circle jerk of the week, but I just can't. I'm looking back on the numerous references made on this very site about how we treated this kid, remembering exactly how many DOZENS of people pulled me aside in my e-mail box and in my classes to show me "this great video of some nerdy kid" they found, and I realize that if I was the people who did this to him I should be lucky he's coming after them with a lawsuit instead of a black trenchcoat and a rifle.

The speed in which so many have suddenly turned from "support" to "I hope he gets the shit beaten out of him" proves that the majority of you who actually claimed you watched this to sympathize with him rather than mock him are lying your asses off, thus proving this kid (who, for fuck's sake people, is a goddamn kid,we're not talking Laurie Garett here) has a valid defamation case.

Is this going to get him more publicity? Considering how we chastize the legal system, yes. Is it going to get him ridiculed? Probably. But don't say he doesn't have a case, and don't even think about dropping some condescending attack on his decision to seek legal action. Half of you can look at your comments and know damn well why he's doing it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:11 PM on May 30, 2003


I was unaware of the fund to buy him an iPod, but I would have donated, and I fail to see what's wrong with that. He got the short end of a stick, and some people decided it'd be nice to give him the long end of the stick instead.
posted by mosch at 12:12 PM on May 30, 2003


I watched the video-this kid has a future in physical comedy. Seriously. If I were him at that age I would be mortified-but this COULD all be parlayed into something quite renumerative down the road.
posted by konolia at 12:23 PM on May 30, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, you are the most consistantly predictable self-righteous college student I have read on the internet.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:57 PM on May 30, 2003


XQUZYPHYR -- The fact that this was used without his permission is one thing, and possibly worth suing over, but the fact that this kid made the video and then gave it to someone who then released it into the CyberWild is a different issue. Maybe it's a hard lesson to learn at a young age, but if you don't want people to know what you are doing in private, don't give them a video of it. That I cannot sympathize with. And yeah I laughed my ass of AT him when I first saw it because I knew this probably was something he never intended the world at large to see. And honestly, what teenager today living in a technologically advanced society doesn't understand the speed with which things travel over the Internet? Or the sheer ease of putting videos on the Internet now?
posted by archimago at 1:01 PM on May 30, 2003


Who are the morons who gave this kid money in the first place and why are they allowed to continue using up my air?

webloggers... you can always count on them to meddle, making an insignificant event into something you need to turn away from in disgust.
posted by t r a c y at 1:06 PM on May 30, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, you are the most consistantly predictable self-righteous college student I have read on the internet.

Yes, but if XQUZYPHYR and I agree on something, we're probably right. That, or it's the Rapture and we should hide the boy before God gets here.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:09 PM on May 30, 2003


He is fat.

And he is funny.

QED.
posted by xmutex at 1:15 PM on May 30, 2003


XQUZYPHYR -- I thought the kid was awesome. He's an absolute dork, and I absolutely love that. He rocks. He's got a passion, and he got caught on tape. I guess I'm the only one that likes to dance like an idiot in my apartment when no one else is home. Sure, it's embarrassing, but where's the kid's sense of humor? Yes, I know, I'm sure it sucks for him right now. But which of us *wasn't* taunted in high school, and isn't now a better person?

People learn coping skills that way. That's why the nerds turn out better than the cool kids in the long run. I developed my sense of humor to deal with it; others take up an interest or hobby, or mature because of it.

He has every right to be upset, but I don't think suing is the right course of action. I don't think he doesn't have a case, I just question if suing will be teaching him a lesson in how to deal with frustration, disappointment, and anger appropriately.
posted by gramcracker at 1:17 PM on May 30, 2003


I just question if suing will be teaching him a lesson in how to deal with frustration, disappointment, and anger appropriately.

Why should he be taught a lesson in frustration and disappointment? I see it as learning a lesson in how to deal with people who violate your established rights.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:22 PM on May 30, 2003


Who are the morons who gave this kid money in the first place and why are they allowed to continue using up my air?

webloggers... you can always count on them to meddle, making an insignificant event into something you need to turn away from in disgust.

Hmmm. I thought I was donating money for a few reasons: a) I remember what it was like to get the short end of the stick when I was a kid... and that it helped when my parents made up for it buy getting me an ice cream cone or something to make me feel better, which made me feel not so alone; b) the fact that when I read the interview (online and a different interview in my local newspaper) with the kid that he was a good sport and wasn't freaking out; c) I thought it would be great that the kid could throw it back in the faces of the kids at school who were making fun of him... "Yeah, a million people had a laugh at my expense but I can't hear their laughter--or yours--because this ipod goes to 11. "

In short: the reasons were all positive. I thought the kid was cool.

However, I guess I was wrong about the reasons I donated. I was simply a moronic meddling weblogger. What was I thinking?
posted by dobbs at 1:27 PM on May 30, 2003


I'd like to know who contacted whom: did the SWK (or his parents) go looking for legal representation, or did some sleazy landshark smell money and con them into this? I'd also like to know how the video impacted G's life. Did he really become the butt of an unbearable torrent of spiteful humour, or did he win some sheepish respect for being a good sport about it all (pre-lawsuit, I mean)? The lawsuit seems to me to be terribly ill-advised in any case, but G retains my sympathy if it's not his idea, or if he is reacting to a much rougher time of it than I thought he had had.
posted by sennoma at 1:36 PM on May 30, 2003


related news: Wil Wheaton is suing Star Trek fans (no link because it's 'Breaking News' on the front page of CNN.com)
posted by djacobs at 1:41 PM on May 30, 2003


XQUZYPHYR: "I hope he gets the shit beaten out of him"?

No one said anything remotely close.
posted by brittney at 1:51 PM on May 30, 2003


As a dorky fat kid, I feel I had the right to laugh at the video.

I mean, let's face it - we've all done stuff like this. Are at least all of us boys have. We've all done really embarassing ridiculous stuff, and some of it gets seen and some of it doesn't. This is sort of a new scale for it, but whatever - it's not as if he knows the people wathing the video. Or even has to watch them watching it. I don't know French law, so I don't actually know if he's got a case. I certainly don't think litigation was the best course of action, though.

"Poor fat kids, I feel so bad for them. First, marketing geniuses make them want oreos, whoppers, fries, etc. Then marketing geniuses make them feel like shit for being fat, leading to diet pills, etc. Then it's on to the anti-depressants. Gross."

Uh, whatever. Not a tool of the marketing geniuses here. Nor was I in highschool, or elementary, or whenever. Please do not reduce people to crude consumerist automatons before you even know them.
posted by kavasa at 2:18 PM on May 30, 2003


He's Canadian, actually.
posted by timeistight at 2:32 PM on May 30, 2003


Why should he be taught a lesson in frustration and disappointment? I see it as learning a lesson in how to deal with people who violate your established rights.

Because life is full of frustration and disappointment, and if you don't learn how to deal with it effectively, you might just think the solution is to either a) sue everyone or b) go gun-crazy at your school?
posted by gramcracker at 3:25 PM on May 30, 2003


A question for the lawyers in the crowd: Does he have any kind of case? If I find a video tape and post it on my site, can someone sue me?
posted by timeistight at 3:50 PM on May 30, 2003


Jesse- I am actually the most consistantly predictable self-righteous college graduate you have read on the internet. Please adjust your records accordingly.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:13 PM on May 30, 2003


I'm letting him keep the $5.00 I donated ... various reasons ...
posted by feelinglistless at 4:31 PM on May 30, 2003


... OK ... the various reasons are pretty much for all the things dobbs said ...
posted by feelinglistless at 4:34 PM on May 30, 2003


Here's a link to the video that's not bittorrent, and hence won't make your PC into a shitty video server.

Unless you're on dial-up, this shouldn't be a concern to you. And it actually makes for a pretty good video server if people participate.

I suspect that it wasn't his (the child) decision to sue, and I think that if I had donated (no bling bling for me these days) I would let him keep it. That way, 10 years from now, when people still remember this (they would have forgotten in five if there hadn't been a lawsuit) he'll at least have some stuff to go home to.
posted by j.edwards at 4:38 PM on May 30, 2003


>webloggers... you can always count on them to meddle

Exactly. Can't just leave a funny video alone, they had to find him and mindboggingly offer him thousands of dollars. This is madness on a grand scale and it ain't the fat kid or the remixers who are clueless here.

Well, now that you guys have the 4 grand, why not donate it to charity, or is that just not kitsch cool enough?
posted by skallas at 5:01 PM on May 30, 2003


Why should he be taught a lesson in frustration and disappointment?

Because life is full of frustration and disappointment, and if you don't learn how to deal with it effectively, you might just think the solution is to either a) sue everyone or b) go gun-crazy at your school?


That's all well and good when it's a matter of being spurned when asking a girl out, or when you don't get that kewl summer job you wanted, or don't get into the college you want to.

But this is a matter of people exploiting the poor schlub without his consent, and the solution to people exploiting you without your consent really *is* to sue them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:12 PM on May 30, 2003


Please do not reduce people to crude consumerist automatons before you even know them.

Hello! Have you noticed how many people actually watch American Idol? crude-consumer-automatons 'r' us, man!

And I agree with languagehat...crummy post to start out with--not even one bit interested in clicking on the links.
posted by troybob at 5:22 PM on May 30, 2003


I could be wrong but as far as I can tell from the articles, he accidentally left the video tape in one of the school's video camera, and the lawyer was going after the kids who initally put it up, which seems a little more fair; I sincerely hope that is the case.

I remember what it was like to be picked on and have your every little gesture mimicked for the enjoyment of everyone at school but you. I can imagine how humilated and powerless he must feel. If they are going after the nasty little fucks who put it on the web in the first place, more power to him.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:01 PM on May 30, 2003


I agree with languagehat...

I agree with luser. "Does not interest me" != "bad post".
posted by sennoma at 6:07 PM on May 30, 2003


I watched American Idol.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by konolia at 6:15 PM on May 30, 2003


All I can say is, as for myself, had this happened to me, I would have rolled with the punches, enjoyed my five minutes of fame (and a sweet new iPod to boot) and then relished the moment as one of the more humorous points of my life for the next fifty years.

But then again, that's just me and I have a wicked self-depricating sense of humor. Apparently this child does not.
posted by tgrundke at 6:30 PM on May 30, 2003


Tested by Americans
posted by asok at 7:13 PM on May 30, 2003


Look, it's the underpant gnomes!
Anyhoo, I do this kind of shit all the time, and if you filmed me and took the piss, it would reflect more on your character than mine.
posted by asok at 7:21 PM on May 30, 2003


He's Canadian, actually.

Oh. I don't feel so bad about laughing at him, then.
posted by waldo at 7:39 PM on May 30, 2003


Damn, I'd be willing to make a somewhat embarrassing video and have it passed around the web for $4K. And I'm 35.
posted by sixdifferentways at 8:23 PM on May 30, 2003


Dear Star Wars Kid, here is the big secret: everybody does stupid shit. Sometimes we get caught doing it. Nerds get embarassed and cry to their mommies. Cool people take credit for it and demand applause. You are now officially a nerd, forever. My deepest condolences.

I swear, if I was that kid, the first thing I'd do would be to make a dozen more videos, and start selling them online. Fame and riches, man. And groupies! Oh, the Star Wars Kid groupies. Then the coke habit, rehab, relapse, rehab again for real this time, the Barbara Walters special, the lifetime achievement award at the Oscars... But noooo. Totally blew it, man.
posted by majcher at 9:52 PM on May 30, 2003


Until we get that kid here to talk about it, we don't KNOW how he took it. Heck, maybe his parents (or his lawyer) saw a chance to make big bucks off this-and garner even more publicity.

But if he really was humiliated-dang, don't any of YOU remember being 15???? At that age we're embarrassed to be seen with our PARENTS, God forbid anything else the leas bit humiliating happens.
posted by konolia at 5:20 AM on May 31, 2003


High school kid A humiliates high school kid B.

Surely this is the kind of reckless behavior tort law can successfully deter.

Um, seriously: isn't the proper solution, given the magnitude of the crime, for the parents of A to give him a stern talking-to, and ground him for a month or so?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:08 AM on May 31, 2003


I agree with luser. "Does not interest me" != "bad post".

My lack of interest did not make it a bad post; the lack of set-up for the link did. Replace it with one assuming some foreknowledge of any other obscure subject, as opposed to the pathetic obsessions cultivated by people who have no life off the 'net, and you'd see the point.

My lack of interest was a side effect.
posted by troybob at 8:46 AM on May 31, 2003


Hmmm...I remember the (hilarious) original clip being posted not once, not twice, but three times.
posted by ghastlyfop at 9:49 AM on May 31, 2003


as opposed to the pathetic obsessions cultivated by people who have no life off the 'net

And yet here you are, arguing MetaFilter etiquette. Heh. Welcome to my killfile and have a nice life, you obviously superior individual, you.
posted by sennoma at 11:18 AM on May 31, 2003


wow. when I saw this post, I asked myself "what 'star wars kid?'". I read through the comments and found a link to the video (and since it's the subject of a lawsuit, that's much more than I expected, I have to say), and now I can say with confidence: WTF is everybody talking about? I see nothing wrong with his dancing. Oh well. next post...
posted by Busithoth at 4:46 PM on May 31, 2003


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