I guess Shia LaBeouf realized that his list of douchey behavior didn’t have enough plagiarism on it, so he got that out of the way really quickly before the end of the year. Then he did his duty as a celebrity who just messed up and released a long apology via Twitter. I’m not exactly eager to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Digitial Spy reports that Shia wrote and directed a short film called HowardCantour.com which premiered on Vimeo yesterday. Some viewers pointed out the similarities between Shia’s film and comic book author Daniel Clowes’ 2007 work Justin M Damiano. The short even took exact dialogue from the comic but didn’t credit it as its inspiration.
Daniel Clowes himself spoke out about the similarities, telling Buzzfeed:
“The first I ever heard of the film was this morning when someone sent me a link. I’ve never spoken to or met Mr. LaBeouf. I’ve never even seen one of his films that I can recall — and I was shocked, to say the least, when I saw that he took the script and even many of the visuals from a very personal story I did six or seven years ago and passed it off as his own work. I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind.”
I can’t imagine what was going through his mind either, considering the film originally premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012. Yet after a year and a half the film still didn’t give proper credit to its inspiration. But of course, as celebrities are wont to do after people call them out for doing bad things, Shia shared a long apology last night on his Twitter account. You can read what he had to say below, starting from the bottom up.
While it’s nice that Shia apologized, he really didn’t have many other options considering how obvious the plagiarism seems to be. While Shia would have us believe he was just an inexperienced filmmaker who got so caught up in being an artist that he forgot he actually didn’t come up with the work himself, I’m not buying it. Shia’s been in the industry for a while now, and this wasn’t just some little thrown-together film he did for fun — it was shown at Cannes. On top of all this, he admits to using the comic as his inspiration, yet Buzzfeed reports that he previously spoke of the film as if it developed from his own experiences and ideas.
Oh, and Buzzfeed also points out that Shia’s first apologetic tweet seems to have been copied from a Yahoo!Answers entry. He also plagiarized parts of his apology emails to co-star Alec Baldwin earlier this year. So yeah, I’m not exactly ready to let this guy off the hook.
(Photo: STS / WENN.com)