shia labeouf

From racism to assault: A look back at Shia LaBeouf’s past controversies

There’s over a decade of them

Shia LaBeouf is no stranger to bad headlines. It’s been well documented that he has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, with the actor himself acknowledging this on multiple occasions, but the latest accusations made by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs seem to cast a significant shadow over the future of his career. He has already been removed for promotional material for Netflix’s Pieces of a Woman, and there has been no response on his social channels.

However, this is only the latest controversy for Shia to get caught up in, as his addictions have actually got him into a number of controversies in the past decade. So, from drunken altercations with various people up to the latest accusations by ex-girlfriends, here’s a look back at Shia LaBeouf’s past controversies.

In 2007 he was charged with misdemeanour trespassing

The journey seemed to start in 2007, when LaBeouf was charged with misdemeanour trespassing after refusing to leave a drug store which he was trying to buy cigarettes from.

According to Fox News, he was told he needed to leave because he appeared to be drunk, however, he refused and police were called at around 2:30 in the morning. Shia laughed the situation off with David Letterman, admitting that he was very drunk: “I got really wasted in Chicago and ended up celebrating in Walgreens.”

The store dropped charges.

In 2014 he was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and criminal trespass

In an alcoholic stupor, Shia was arrested at Studio 54 Theatre after “acting disorderly, yelling and being loud”. He pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charge, and the others were dropped. Disorderly conduct is a broad definition that means any kind of behaviour that disturbs people in the area or can be deemed threatening.

In 2014 he stormed out of a press interview quoting a footballer

In 2014 Shia was at a press conference promotion Nymphomaniac when he said to the audience: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”

This was a line from Manchester United star Eric Cantona, who said the same in a news conference in 1995 after an assault conviction. He too got up and left.

He was escorted from a musical performance after disruptive behaviour

This is where it starts to get really bad. In 2014 Shia arrived drunk to a Broadway performance of Cabaret, and proceeded to smoke inside the theatre, stand up during the show, shout at the actors and some witnesses claim he even got on stage and grabbed at actor Alan Cumming. He was arrested and pled guilty to disorderly conduct.

Shia spoke of the incident on Jimmy Kimmel Live, saying that he was drunk on Whisky and had continued drinking after a flight back from Ireland. He also said that he slapped Cumming’s backside and that he spat on a police officer’s shoe at the station. Lovely.

In January 2017 he was arrested after an alleged “tussle”

Remember that “He will not divide us” art piece he did where he live-streamed a load of people standing in the street? Amongst various controversial things happening during the stream, Shia was arrested one morning after a small altercation with a man who featured on the stream.

Police claimed that LaBeouf grabbed the man, causing bruising and scratching to the man’s face, according to Time Magazine. Shia was later released from custody with no further details given.

He drunkenly called a bowling alley bartender a “fucking racist”

According to Insider, Shia asked a bartender for French fries but was refused service. This made him angry after witnesses say he was allegedly drinking a large amount, and the above aggression was caught on camera.

He had to return later because he was still wearing the bowling shoes provided. Calling the bartender racist was an interesting move considering his next controversy.

In 2017 he launched a “racist” attack on a police officer on camera

On July 8th 2017 at 4am, Shia was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and obstruction. The following clip shows the altercation, where Shia claims he has rights and repeats that he’s an American.

“You’re going to hell, straight to hell, bro,” he reportedly said. “You, especially, Devin.” One of the cops asked why he singled out Devin, to which he responded: “Cause he’s a black man.”

He was sentenced to a one-year probation and ordered to pay a $1000 fine. He also had to seek therapy to manage anger and substance abuse issues. He shared an apology on Twitter, in which he claimed he was deeply ashamed of his behaviour:

“I have been struggling with addiction publicly for far too long, and I am actively taking steps toward securing my sobriety and hope I can be forgiven for my mistakes.”

In 2020 he was charged with misdemeanour battery and petty theft

In June of 2020, Shia was involved in an altercation with a man in which he stole the man’s hat. According to the Independent, LaBeouf stole Tyler Murphy’s hat after a physical altercation and ran away. In September, he was charged with misdemeanour battery and petty theft, and in November he plead not guilty.

The next court date is January 20th.

Most recently he was sued by FKA Twigs for sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress

In December 2020, FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against Shia, claiming that he was violent and emotionally abusive. The lawsuit shows that she accuses him of throwing her against a car, choking her and not allowing her to wear clothing to bed.

She told The New York Times that it was the worst thing she’s ever been through. “What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she said. “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.”

The Times also featured an accusation from Karolyn Pho, another ex-girlfriend of his who alleges he headbutted her and made her bleed. Responding to the article, Shia denied the claims and said that “many of these allegations are not true.” He added in a separate statement he has a history of hurting people. “I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years,” LaBeouf said. “I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt.”

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