Shia LaBeouf Has Transformed Into a Monster
The “Fury” actor has been accused of a cycle of abuse by his former partners, including the musical artist FKA Twigs. And he had been given a pass on his bad behavior for years.
The avant-pop artist FKA Twigs has sued actor Shia LaBeouf for what she described as “relentless” abuse during their nearly one-year relationship in 2018. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and first reported by The New York Times, accuses the Transformers actor of sexual battery, assault, infliction of emotional distress, and knowingly infecting the singer with a sexually transmitted disease.
At the center of the lawsuit is an incident that occurred on Valentine’s Day in early 2019, when Twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, claims LaBeouf threatened to crash a car if she did not say she loved him. The couple was returning from a trip to the desert, during which they fought frequently, according to the Times. Once, Twigs claims in the lawsuit, she woke up in the night to LaBeouf choking her. In the car, Twigs describes begging LaBeouf to let her out. Once he complied, she claims, LaBeouf threw her against the vehicle, screamed in her face, and forced her back inside.
In other parts of the lawsuit, Twigs accuses LaBeouf of often bruising her in his grip, becoming jealous if she acknowledged male waiters, forcing her to avert her gaze when talking to men, and imposing quotas on how frequently she had to kiss and touch him each day. He would insist she sleep naked, Twigs says, and kept a loaded firearm by his bedside, that she feared he might use against her if she moved in the night.
The couple met on the set of LaBeouf’s semi-autobiographical film Honey Boy in 2018, and eventually moved in together in LaBeouf’s Los Angeles home. The lawsuit alleges that the move further isolated her and made it harder for her to leave. “The whole time I was with him, I could have bought myself a business-flight plane ticket back to my four-story townhouse in Hackney, [London],” Twigs told the Times. But “he brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible.”
LaBeouf’s erratic and sometimes volatile behavior has played out in the press for years, but often as a punchline or addendum to a figure otherwise hailed as a charismatic eccentric. His experiments in performance art—including a six-day installation at a museum in which LaBeouf sat with a paper bag on his head and cried—were widely covered. There is an entire Instagram account dedicated to his schlubby-chic fashion sensibility.
But LaBeouf’s bizarre behavior has often taken much darker turns—some of which led to multiple arrests for assault and disorderly conduct, though all charges were later dismissed. In 2014, he chased a homeless man down in Times Square to demand his McDonald’s bag. In 2015, a bystander recorded the actor getting into a heated altercation with his then-girlfriend and now ex-wife Mia Goth. In the video, LaBeouf says audibly: “I don’t want to touch a woman. I don’t want to hit a woman. But I’m getting pushed.” He continued, “I gotta get out of here, bro. If I’d have stayed there, I would have killed her.”
Two years later, after the actor was arrested in Savannah, Georgia, he was caught on camera berating the officer by saying his wife “watches porn, she probably watches x-fucking videos and shit, like looking at black dick.” In the same video, he told a Black cop that he’s “going straight to hell...because he’s a Black man,” railed that “a Black man arrested [him] for being white,” and bragged that he “got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with, you stupid bitch.” He also repeatedly shouted at the female officers, calling them “bitch” and “whore.”
LaBeouf was later charged with public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and obstruction, and released on a $7,000 bond. He later apologized, promising to take steps toward sobriety.
Twigs’ lawsuit makes reference to other women who have had similar experiences with LaBeouf, including stylist Karolyn Pho, who also dated the actor. In the lawsuit, Pho alleges that LaBeouf once pinned her to a bed and head-butted her. The impact was hard enough to make her bleed.
LaBeouf acknowledged that he had been abusive to others in an email to the Times. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations,” LaBeouf wrote. “I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”
Twigs told the Times she was nervous about filing the lawsuit. “I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me,” she said. “I’m unconventional. And I’m a person of color who is a female.”