Singer-songwriter FKA twigs (born Tahliah Debrett Barnett) has accused ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf of an escalating pattern of abusive behavior in a lawsuit (filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court). The pair first met during the 2018 production of LaBeouf’s Honey Boy movie, and a report from the New York Times (which includes an interview with Barnett) details the musician’s allegations against the actor, who has a well-documented history of troubled behavior, including being caught on video stating he “would have killed” former girlfriend Mia Goth while the pair were spotted fighting in Germany in 2015.
At the centerpoint of Barnett’s allegations is a February 2019 incident, for which she reveals that LaBeouf threatened to crash a speeding vehicle after a tumultuous trip to the desert. She alleges that he choked her, raged, and threw her against the vehicle. This followed a nearly year-long relationship, which Barnett alleges was an isolating and abusive one that often left her with visible bruises on her body. She also alleges that LaBeouf knowingly infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease.
Barnett was aided in her lawsuit by Karolyn Pho, another previous ex-girlfriend of LaBeouf’s, who corroborated Barnett’s accounts of possessive behavior and “rules,” including how LaBeouf directed them to speak to male wait staff at restaurants, along with guidelines about enforced physical affection. Pho also stated that LaBeouf once “drunkenly pinned her to a bed and head-butted her, enough that she bled.” In the lawsuit, Barnett accuses LaBeouf of “relentless abuse” (including but not limited to sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress). The musician also detailed how LaBeouf convinced her to move away from her professional circle in London, which further contributed to how she felt trapped and struggled to exit the relationship:
As Ms. Barnett grew more isolated, she said she felt as though her safety nets were unraveling. The gas station incident had happened in public, she said, and no one stepped to her aid; an early attempt she made to tell a colleague was brushed off. “I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me,” she said in an interview. “I’m unconventional. And I’m a person of color who is a female.”
Slowly, with the help of a therapist, she began to strategize her exit. While she was packing to leave in spring 2019, Mr. LaBeouf turned up unannounced and terrorized her, according to a sworn statement from a witness, her housekeeper, in the lawsuit. When Ms. Barnett wouldn’t leave with him, the statement says, he “violently grabbed” her, picked her up and locked her in another room, where he yelled at her.
The New York Times attempted to contact LaBeouf for a statement about the lawsuit, for which his rep did not respond. However, the actor did send a return email that addressed his behavior in very general terms:
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. 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.”
While speaking to the NYT, Barnett explained that she filed the lawsuit to show the public that abusive and isolating relationships “can happen to anybody.” She also explained her desire “to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency” while calling her experience with Shia “the worst thing that I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life.” As of now, news of any future proceedings by the Los Angeles Superior Court has not been detailed to the public.
(Via New York Times)