Although his last name has been slightly altered, this 27-year-old’s name is easily recognizable – probably because you’ve seen one, or many, of his performances on television or the big screen.
From Even Stevens, Holes, Disturbia, and the Transformers franchise, to 31 award nominations, Shia LaBeouf has made a name for himself in Hollywood. What will he do next? Well, perhaps nothing at all, ever again.
In 2012, LaBeouf was working on a short film titled Howard Cantour.com that tells the story of an internet film critic debating on whether to write a negative or positive review for an upcoming film. This short film was released in Dec. 2013, and sparked some controversial feedback shortly after. The actor-turned-director was being accused of plagiarizing Daniel Clowes, an American cartoonist. Clowes’ 2007 comic just so happen to include some of the same quotes, dialogues and narrative structure as LaBeouf’s Howard Cantour.com.
These accusations continued to escalate on Twitter, even Clowes’ himself got in the action which eventually resulted in the short film being taken offline within just a few hours of its release.
The next day, LaBeouf wrote out a well thought out apology to Clowes via his Twitter handle @thecampaignbook, it read:
“Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work. In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation. Im embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work I fucked up.”
LaBeouf’s apology seemed sincere to many, until more plagiarism accusations unveiled – is it possible that he stole his apology?! Well, later that same day LaBeouf was accused of plagiarizing his apology from a February 2010 Yahoo Answers submission which read:
“Merely copying isn’t particularly creative work, though it’s useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work, and it may even revolutionalize the “stolen” concept.”
It didn’t stop here. Apparently LaBeouf continued to tweet apologetic messages that had been previously recited by other celebrities, such as Alec Baldwin and Russell Crowe.
The apologies continued on Jan. 1 when LaBeouf paid a skywriter to display “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” about Los Angeles.
A week later LaBeouf received a cease-and-desist letter from Clowes’ lawyer stating that he must avoid any further copyright infringement of Clowes’ work.
LaBeouf’s bizarre behavior did not stop there. On January 10 he tweeted what seemed to be a claim to retirement from public life:
“In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life. My love goes out to those who have supported me. #stopcreating”
Due to an expected two part movie release in March and April 2014, we will have to wait and see if LaBeouf is sincerely “retiring”. However, still in question, “#stopcreating”? What exactly is LaBeouf trying to say? While many have uncertain options about LaBeouf’s intentions, ABC.com explains what exactly LaBeouf may have been trying to portray through his repeated hashtag “#stopcreating” on his twitter account.
1 – “Look at someone’s tumblr page – How many original images do you see?”
Translation: LaBeouf says we are becoming a “cut and paste” culture and that most of social media is rife with plagiarism. Basically, your Facebook page is a copy of a copy, of a copy, of a copy …
2 – “Performance art has been a way of appealing directly to a large public, as well as shocking audiences into reassessing their own notions of art”
Translation: Quoting Maya Angelou in your Twitter feed does not make you a poet. Now, quoting Justin Bieber is a totally different story.
3 – “All art is either plagiarism or revolution & to be revolutionary in art today, is to be reactionary.”
Translation: Shia LaBeouf and Kanye West are the only true artists!
4 – “In the midst of being embroiled in acts of intended plagiarism, the world caught me & I reacted. The show began.”
Translation: This was all planned and I know what embroiled means, do you?
5 – “My use of Twitter started a broad cultural discussion that needs to be had about plagiarism in the digital age & celebrity/social media absurdity.”
Translation: Kim Kardashian, please stop posting selfies.
Bonus – “Thank you, I’m sorry – shia”
Translation: Thank you, Booyah!, who’s the man now?! What’s up Megatron! – Shia.