Singer musician FKA Twigs, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett, has filed a lawsuit against actor and former boyfriend Shia LaBeouf in Los Angeles Superior Court. The action alleges sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress during their almost one year relationship.
The actor sent correspondence to The New York Times stating, “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. 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.”
“I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations,” LaBeouf wrote in an email to The Times. Responding to specific accusations in another email, he wrote that “many of these allegations are not true.”
Going on to add that he was “a sober member of a 12-step program” and in therapy. “I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism,” he wrote, “but I am committed to doing what I need to do to recover, and I will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way.”
Not a Happy Valentine’s Day
FKA twigs claims in the lawsuit that around Valentine’s Day 2019 all hell broke loose at a gas station on their way home from the desert, where he “raged on her., driving recklessly, removing his seatbelt and threatening to crash unless she professed her love for him.”
Further accusations state that “he pulled over at a gas station and she took her bags from the trunk. But LaBeouf followed, and assaulted her, throwing her against the car while screaming in her face, forcing her back in the car.”
This Was Not An Isolated Incident
Karolyn Pho, a stylist and former girlfriend, had similar experiences she shared with The Times and detailed in the lawsuit, outlining that LaBeouf drunkenly pinned her to a bed and head-butted her until she bled.
A Jezebel article compiles some of the other egregious things LaBeouf is accused of, and apparently doesn’t deny all of. “The relationship between Pho and LaBeouf was characterized in tabloids as tumultuous, with Pho depicted as teary, jealous, and unable to handle ‘hot-tempered’ LaBeouf’s method acting. It’s now evident that something sinister may have occurred behind the scenes instead.”
In addition, Buzzfeed article from 2015 details an incident with LaBeouf’s ex-girlfriend Mia Goth. “One witness told Bild that Goth was pulling on LaBeouf’s backpack for him to stay, and LaBeouf told her that he did not want to become aggressive with her. LaBeouf appeared to be under the influence, the witness said.
After breaking up the fight, a group of locals drove LaBeouf to the airport, Bild reported. While in the car, he allegedly said that if he had stayed, he would have killed Goth, the tabloid reported.”
LaBeouf injured his hand, and Goth was seen the next morning with a black eye.
FKA twigs says that this was an ongoing pattern of physical, emotional and mental abuse by the actor that also included “rules about how many times a day she had to kiss and touch him, which he enforced with constant haranguing and criticism; he isolated her in Los Angeles from friends and her creative circle in London; he kept a loaded firearm by the bed and that she was scared to use the bathroom at night lest he mistake her for an intruder and shoot her; and he didn’t let her wear clothing to bed.”
Helping Other Victims of Domestic Violence
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” FKA twigs says in a statement.
According to the Times, LaBeouf and his representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
She plans to donate a large part of any damages she receives from the lawsuit to domestic-violence charities. “It was actually very expensive, and a massive undertaking of time and resources, to get out,” she said in an interview. “What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life. I don’t think people would ever think that it would happen to me. But I think that’s the thing. It can happen to anybody.”
From Charming Child Star to Abuser
Over the years LaBeouf has faced charges related to drunk and disorderly conduct, and in one incident he made a racist remark to a Black police officer. Clearly his exes have established that he was abusive in private, and struggled with alcoholism out of control.
So how did an adorable former child star turn into this troubled man? The same way they all do, it would seem. Fame and money on the minds of vulnerable people like child stars who often lack for guidance can turn them into adults who struggle with entitlement and boundaries. When you’re raised without the same boundaries that secure most children as they grow, coping skills don’t develop the same way. With a bevy of fans and Hollywood big-wigs looking to make you happy, it’s easy to get your hands on all the wrong substances to cope with the stress and uncertainty that comes with massive fame at a young age. It’s not an excuse for LaBeouf’s behavior, but it’s certainly a pattern.
Lawsuit Aims to Illuminate What Hollywood Desires to Hide
Stories of LaBeouf’s struggles with abuse have made the round in the headlines for years, but the truth of his abusive behavior behind closed doors has been glossed over in a way only Hollywood and Washington can manage.
Barnett hoped not only to bring closure to herself for the abuse she suffered at LaBeouf’s hands, but to also bring the abuse to light to stop it from being swept under the rug yet again. USA Today received a statement from Barnett’s lawyer about her intent to blow the lid off the whole sordid past he tried to hide from the public; “Shia LaBoeuf has abused Ms. Barnett, Ms.Pho and others. We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment. Since he was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnett filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him.”
Time will tell if the former Transformers star will be able to stay clean and make amends for the harm he’s caused. Hollywood in general, and specifically child stars, don’t have a great record when it comes to cleaning up their act. Friends, family, and fans of the star are watching worriedly and hoping for the best.