Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Short-Film Plagiarism Accusation: ‘I F—ed Up’

Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Short-Film Plagiarism Accusation: 'I F—ed Up'

LaBeouf's latest project “HowardCantour.com” has an awful lot in common with the obscure 2007 comic “Justin M. Damiano”

Shia LaBeouf has apologized for failing to credit Daniel Clowes’ obscure 2007 comic “Justin M. Damiano” as the source of inspiration for his short film “HowardCantour.com,” which caused an uproar online Monday after Clowes accused the “Transformers” star of outright plagiarism.

After he was called out by several film bloggers — the likes of which the short film portrays —  LaBeouf wrote on Twitter over a series of six tweets:

shia.1“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. I'm 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.”

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf Gets Graphic in ‘Nymphomaniac’ Sex Scene Teaser (Video)

Lost in Monday's commotion is the fact that LaBeouf doesn't take an explicit writing credit for the short, though the “A Film By” tag (see left) may be misleading. The film, which debuted at the Cannes Critics’ Week sidebar to minor fanfare, stars Jim Gaffigan as a tortured online film critic named Howard Cantour, who pines for another young journalist played by Portia Doubleday.

Thomas Lennon plays a rival critic, while Dito Montiel, who directed LaBeouf in “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” plays a filmmaker in desperate need of a good review.

Im embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration

Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) December 17, 2013

Clowes had no idea his comic had been misappropriated.

“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,” Clowes told BuzzFeed. “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.”

LaBeouf has long been one of the Internet's favorite targets and his short didn't do him any favors in that regard. A whipping boy of the ever-unfair world wide web, LaBeouf's short seemed especially personal, as it takes aim at online film critics who, fairly or not, have been quick to criticize the 27 year-old actor.

In the wake of Monday's mini-scandal, many branded LaBeouf as a remorseless plagiarist, and with a history — he'd also quoted Esquire in private emails to Alec Baldwin without crediting the magazine. That episode wasn't really plagiarism at all, but tell that to the angry mob online who have disregarded LaBeouf's intent in both instances.

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf Wakes Up Next to Dead Guy in ‘Charlie Countryman’ Trailer (Video)

“Plagiarist” is a word that critics have lobbed at Quentin Tarantino, who often riffs on the work of masters who came before him. LaBeouf doesn't have the same goodwill with the public that Tarantino has, which may be why some critics dusted off their pitchforks Monday.

In response, LaBeouf took the short film down, making it password-protected from the vitriolic public.

LaBeouf, who can currently be seen in “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, next stars in Lars von Trier's “Nymphomaniac” — which certainly doesn't need any more publicity.

  • J holthuizen

    Not very cool. But then there's Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, which is absolutely a reworking of A Streetcar Named Desire (with no nod to Tennessee Williams) and who knows who else does this ?? Its pretty low.

    • exorcissy72

      It's a comedic reworking for sure, but scenes are not taken whole cloth from Streetcar and the Stanley character doesn't try to sleep with the Blanche character.

  • Nicholas Cobraetti

    When you're transcribing passages (and scenes) directly from the book, that's not “inspiration,” it's straight-up plagiarism. What a classless hack.

    • jojo

      Yeah, transcribing entire scenes just like the star wars movies. You must hate those because they are completely copied off various other films,.

      • Nicholas Cobraetti

        Swing and a miss. Go look up transcribe.

  • sarahsue14

    Please note that the line about copying is ALSO copied from a Yahoo! Answers post from 4 years ago. Go checkout the BuzzFeed article. This dude just does not stop!

    • CookieMonster

      Yep, he even plagerized his apology. Not the first time he's done that, either.

  • hupto

    The record should note that Tarantino always makes a point of citing the films he's borrowing from. In doing so, he falls short of the plagiarism level, since he's not trying to pass his pictures off as “original.”

  • Devil_Dinosaur

    I can't decide who's a bigger douche; the millionaire plagiarist or the apologist for the millionaire plagiarist. Comparing LeBeouf to Tarantino is patently insane.

  • Erik Hertwig

    Has anyone levied a punishment for it yet?

  • Soifah

    Enid Coleslaw is an anagram for Daniel Clowes.

  • pointless

    If you can't do, teach, if you can't teach then be a critic. Critics are the most useless waste of air, food, water, and resources. They contribute nothing at all to the world = parasites. Shia ignore them they are pointless useless afterthoughts and the world would be better off without them. NO ONE should be allowed to critique others works until they themselves are considered subject matter experts. Tell them to Piss Off.

    • Wfro

      Yeah, to hell with all those critics who have the audacity to point out plagiarism, especially when it's done by such an upstanding young fellow as Mr. LeBeouf.

  • shai lebouf is awesome

    I DONT QUALIFY TO COMMENT HERE, CUZ IM NOT A HOLIER THAN THOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS ASS WHO NEVER EVER EVER MADE MISTAKES OR LIED BEFORE LIKE ALL THE OTHER COMMENTERS

  • Baron_von_Medwick

    Oh, I see. He forgot.

  • Ronnie Kantorik

    Ok so, I actually know Shia (worked closely with him on Lawless). He is a good guy no need to bash him chill out, he FU(KED UP!