Shia LaBoeuf: I Was Raped During Performance Art Project

The actor Shia LaBeouf has claimed a woman raped him during the performance of his one-man art piece #IAMSORRY earlier this year.


Speaking to Dazed magazinein an email interview, he wrote: “One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for 10 minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me.”

#IAMSORRY consisted of LaBeouf sitting silently with a paper bag on his head, bearing the legend “I am not famous anymore” – members of the public queued to be able to sit in front of him in the one-on-one piece. It ran for five days in February at a Los Angeles gallery.

LaBeouf said that news of the incident “travelled through the line” of people waiting, and reached LaBeouf’s girlfriend. “When she came in she asked for an explanation, and I couldn’t speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful.”

The piece was part of a wider series of performance art events by the actor, triggered by what he calls a “genuine existential crisis” after he was accused of plagiarism when he lifted portions of a Daniel Clowes short story for a film he was working on. LaBeouf wrote streams of bizarre tweets, quoting notorious apologies from famous individuals, and hired a skywriting plane to etch an apology across the Los Angeles sky. He also wore a paper bag to the Berlin premiere of Lars Von Trier’s film Nymphomaniac, and said he would be retiring from all public life.

In the Dazed interview, LaBeouf seems to regret some of these responses, saying: “I am a deeply ironic, cynical person. I was raised on The Simpsons and South Park, it’s my default setting... [our generation] want to change things, we want to have hope, we just don’t know how or where to look.”

Of the assertion he would withdraw from public life, he explained: “The '80s and '90s fucked us; our culture became a product to be sold, and anyone in a tabloid is a product – an object. American culture is just about blowjobs and golf. I wanted to take back ownership. Fuck the money, that was never the impetus. I wanted purpose.” His initial cynicism dissipated, and he began performance art in earnest – projects included writing #STARTCREATING with further skywriters, and running 144 laps around an Amsterdam museum. Following the Dazed email interview, his and journalist Aimee Cliff’s face-to-face interview was conducted in silence, with each filming the other.

In the emails he also skirts further controversy in a discussion of masculinity centred around his current World War II film Fury. “Every primitive culture has a puberty ceremony where children become men. Jews still have it, but it’s all religious nostalgia,” he says. “I think the withholding of a puberty ceremony from young men in our society is a scheme which has been cunningly devised to make young men go to war.”

The actor is currently undergoing treatment for addiction, following his June arrest for disorderly conduct and harassment after he interrupted a performance of Cabaret with obscene language.

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