In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly…I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”
Shia LaBeouf has been under fire the past few weeks for multiple accounts of plagiarism that began with his ripping off a comic book written by Daniel Clowes, continued with his apology stolen from Yahoo Answers, and expanded to “performance art” with more stolen apologies and a skywriting stunt above Los Angeles. He capped this whole thing off by giving an interview to BleedingCool in which he tried to justify his behavior, but honestly, he just came off looking a little nuts. There’s a fine line between being inspired by someone else’s work and straight up stealing it word for word, and LaBeouf doesn’t seem to understand the difference.
In any case, now that the entire world has read enough thinkpieces about this topic to make us never want to hear about it again, Shia might just be giving us our wish – but not in the way fans of his hoped for. The actor took to Twitter once again last night, but this time, he announced his retirement:
In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life.
— Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) January 10, 2014
Look, I actually like Shia as an actor. People have been hating on him for various reasons for years, but I’ve pretty much always enjoyed his performances. I think he has loads of potential, and moving out from under Michael Bay’s boot seemed to be doing him a lot of good artistically: he was pretty excellent in the little-seen indie Charlie Countryman last year (a passion project of his he’d been developing for years), and he claimed on more than one occasion to be done acting in big budget films, which meant he’d be able to devote more time to more interesting projects like Lars Von Trier’s upcoming controversial film Nymphomaniac. He seemed to be hitting a kind of stride. And then this plagiarism thing happened.
If this is indeed true and not some continuation of the stunts he’s been pulling over the past few weeks, it’s a sad day for the people who saw a lot of potential in Shia’s future. At one point, he was poised to be the next big thing, and it’s always kind of a bummer to see someone fall this hard. I’m not trying to stick up for him – his actions are clearly misguided and he should have just offered a genuine apology and moved on once he was caught – but there was a point when Tom Cruise fell out of public favor, too, and now he’s back in full swing. I have my fingers crossed that the same thing will happen to LaBeouf, and after a little time away and some distance from this whole thing, he’ll be able to make amends, put his head down, and get back to work.
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