It’s been a few weeks since FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against her ex, Shia LaBeouf. In the lawsuit, she accuses the Transformers actor of “relentless abuse,” including choking her and throwing her against a car on Valentine’s Day 2019. She also claims he once bragged about killing stray dogs.
“Shia LaBeouf hurts women,” the introduction begins. “He uses them. He abuses them, both physically and mentally.”
It continues, “He is dangerous. For too long, LaBeouf has sought to excuse his reprehensible actions as the eccentricities of a free-thinking ‘artist.’”
The accusations laid out by FKA Twigs — born Tahliah Debrett Barnett — have been backed by Shia’s other exes, like stylist Karolyn Pho and singers Sia and Katy Rose.
Shia has since responded to the lawsuit. He claimed that not all of the allegations are true but admitted that he had been “abusive.”
His attorney, Shawn Holley, confirmed that the actor acknowledges his problems and wants to make things right. He’s seeking out “long-term inpatient treatment that he desperately needs.”
Sounds good, right?
Is it all a charade for the sake of his career?
But it leaves me wondering if this is all a charade to save face and continue to earn millions in the entertainment industry. And does this have anything to do with the fact that Netflix went through great lengths to cancel him?
For starters, the lawsuit alleges that FKA Twigs already tried to convince him to go that route.
“We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment,” said a statement from Bryan Freedman, an attorney for FKA Twigs. “Since he was unwilling to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnet filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him.”
It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the first time Shia has faced legal troubles and public backlash for his less-than-savory behaviors. Remember when he was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and obstruction back in 2017? It was accompanied by a video of the actor making some racist remarks to a Black cop during the arrest.
Shia was also caught on video in 2015 arguing with then-girlfriend Mia Goth, telling her, “This is the kind of sh*t that makes a person abusive.” Friends later said that he told them, “I don’t want to hit a woman, but I’m being pushed,” blaming Mia for his anger and outrageous behavior. “If I’d have stayed there, I would have killed her.”
Oh, okay. Big yikes.
The entertainment industry has a history of welcoming back abusers.
If you’ve been paying attention over the last several years, this might all sound pretty familiar. We’ve seen poor behavior from some of the biggest names in entertainment, from Mel Gibson to Ben Affleck.
And like so many of them, Shia LaBeouf won’t likely face material consequences for his actions. We’ve seen this same pattern from so many other abusers in the entertainment industry: they get fired from a project or two, they retreat for a while, and then they re-emerge as if nothing ever happened.
It’s distressing. Removing an abusive individual from the industry isn’t just an act of punishment. Sure, it feels like justice when someone loses out for being a terrible person. But removing them also serves another important purpose: it’s a necessity for the safety of others.
Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has proven time and time again that they don’t actually care about the safety of others. They continue to let abusers return — without any accountability.
Is Shia LaBeouf really ready to change?
Of course if Shia is sincere about his willingness to work on his issues and to change his behavior, more power to him. I’m a firm believer that people can change, when they’re really ready to put in the effort.
However, is it possible for someone to change their abusive ways, if their job is to feed off their own trauma?
When working on Honey Boy, Shia admitted that he would only call his father when he needed “an excuse to rev up” for a scene. And while making Honey Boy may have been therapeutic and represented his truth that trauma begets trauma, how can he break the cycle when he is actively benefiting from it?
“I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations,” Shia wrote The New York Times in an email. He followed that up with, “Many of these allegations are not true.”
Can he change for the better, without actual accountability? Can he change while actively benefiting from his sh*tty behavior?
But perhaps the biggest question here is this: is he willing to change, knowing that the entertainment industry will eventually welcome him back with open arms?
I think we all know the answer.