Artist News Legal

Shia LeBeouf denies FKA Twigs’ abuse claims

By | Published on Friday 12 February 2021

FKA Twigs

Shia LeBeouf’s legal team have formally denied all the claims of abuse that were made against him by former partner FKA Twigs in a lawsuit last year. This despite the actor saying in a statement immediately after the legal action was originally filed that he has “been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years”.

The couple dated for about a year in 2018 and 2019, after working together on the film ‘Honey Boy’. FKA Twigs, real name Tahliah Barnett, said that she agreed to move in with LaBeouf after he employed a “charm offensive”, which is, she said she now realises, “a tactic … he used on other women”.

“LaBeouf was engaging in grooming – gradually gaining Tahliah’s trust and confidence with the intent of abusing her”, the lawsuit stated. “Over a course of months, LaBeouf engaged in a continuous stream of verbal and mental abuse toward Tahliah, belittling her and berating her after the slightest perceived ‘insult’ by LaBeouf. LaBeouf isolated Tahliah from her friends and family, making it so her daily existence and routine revolved around LaBeouf and only LaBeouf”.

In a response filed this week, LeBeouf’s lawyers say that he “denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation contained in [Barnett]’s complaint, denies that [Barnett] has sustained any injury or loss by reason of any act or omission on the part of [LaBeouf], and denies that [Barnett] is entitled to any relief or damages whatsoever”.

They also request that her claim of sexual battery should be dismissed because “none of the acts alleged were based on sex and/or the conduct was not sexual”, and say that actions described by Barnett as physical abuse were “reasonably necessary for his self-defence and/or safety”.

In December, when Barnett’s lawsuit was originally filed, LaBeouf said in a statement to the New York Times: “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say”.

Speaking to Rolling Stone yesterday, Barnett’s attorney Bryan Freedman said: “Upon being confronted with Ms Barnett’s lawsuit, Mr LaBeouf admitted his reprehensible conduct and then checked himself into some type of inpatient treatment. To the extent his five week treatment has been focused on denials and gaslighting, he may want to revisit the type of help he is receiving. Mr LaBeouf’s legal tact and recovery plan, while not surprising, are poorly misguided self-help strategies”.

In response to that, LaBeouf’s lawyer Shawn Holley said: “A lawyer issuing general denials to all the allegations in a lawsuit is standard procedure in civil practice and signals nothing about Shia’s past statements or his acceptance of responsibility for things he has done wrong. Nothing has changed”.

Barnett has given a number of interviews about her relationship with LaBeouf since filing her lawsuit. However, yesterday she was instead focussed on a new partnership with Getty Images. The company is opening up its Hulton Archive, which holds a collection of images going back to the 1800s, much of it covering black history in the US. Images from the collection are being made available for non-commercial use without charge.

“It was the artist Kandis Williams who told me how much of our history was in the Getty Images Archive”, says Barnett of that project. “We were discussing how powerful it would be to make this content available to black creators and educators – enabling us to put these pieces together and make our history accessible for generations to come”.

Getty will also be providing various mechanisms of support focused on black history. More details on the project will be released over the next few months.

Head Of Content at Getty Images, Ken Mainardis, adds: “Knowing the past opens the door to the future; we are pleased to partner with FKA Twigs on this ambitious project to preserve and celebrate black history. With this project, we hope to empower black content creators to tell their story of their own history, and to support storytelling as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift”.