#FreeShia: Shia LaBeouf Arrest Triggers Twitter Storm Over Neo-Nazi Faceoff

Actor’s supporters come to his defense in droves online

Shia LaBeouf
Getty Images

Shia LaBeouf and neo-Nazis may be worlds apart ideologically, but they have one thing in common: they have gained a reputation for not being afraid to draw attention to themselves in the weeks following the election.

Bring the two into conflict with each other, and internet chaos ensues.

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, LaBeouf has been camped out in front of the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, where he’s been hosting a livestream/art installation called “He Will Not Divide Us.” LaBeouf has been interacting with people passing by on the stream and encouraging groups that gather to chant “he will not divide us” in unison. He plans to run the stream for the entirety of Trump’s presidency.

But the installation has become the target of internet trolls, Trump supporters, and neo-Nazis on sites like 4chan, which has hosted chat rooms planning to disrupt the livestream, according to BuzzFeed News. People have since assembled in front of the stream holding signs with Pepe The Frog (a symbol of the alt-right movement) and “Make America Great Again.” On Sunday, a man got close to LaBeouf and began shouting Nazi rhetoric on the stream until LaBeouf chased him off.

Finally, at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, LaBeouf was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges after he reportedly pushed an unidentified 25-year-old man. But an unofficial Twitter account for the “He Will Not Divide Us” installation posted a video showing a man yelling “Hitler did nothing wrong” at LaBeouf before getting pushed away. The actor’s supporters claim that LaBeouf was arrested for this exchange, though police have yet to confirm.

The incident has created a hashtag in support of LaBeouf called #FreeShia, which asserts that the actor, who is of Jewish descent, was justified in his actions after being faced with Nazi rhetoric.

Others, however, criticized LaBeouf for his actions.