FKA twigs speaks out after filing lawsuit against ex Shia LaBeouf for 'relentless abuse,' assaults
Shia LaBeouf, the frequently troubled movie star, has been sued by his ex-girlfriend, British musician FKA twigs, for repeated abuse and assaults – physical, emotional and mental – he allegedly inflicted in their nearly year-long relationship.
“Shia LaBeouf hurts women,” the lawsuit said in its opening lines. “He uses them. He abuses them, both physically and mentally. He is dangerous.”
Twigs further opened up on social media Friday, explaining she chose to share her experience in hopes it may help others who are in domestic violence situations.
"My second worst nightmare is being forced to share with the world that i am a survivor of domestic violence," Twigs writes to Instagram. "My first worst nightmare is not telling anyone and knowing that i could have helped even just one person by sharing my story."
The dancer noted it was hard for her to process she was in "an emotionally and physically abusive relationship" and never thought "something like this would happen to me."
"Which is why I have decided it’s important for me to talk about it and try to help people understand that when you are under the coercive control of an abuser or in an interpersonal violent relationship leaving doesn’t feel like a safe or achievable option," Twigs writes.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, was obtained by USA TODAY. Twigs lists five "causes of action" – battery, sexual battery, assault, emotional distress and gross negligence – against LaBeouf and seeks unspecified monetary damages from him.
Besides Twigs, the other woman named in the suit was Karolyn Pho, a stylist who is also a former girlfriend of LaBeouf's, who described traumatic experiences with LaBeouf during their relationship.
The lawsuit, which asserts LaBeouf knowingly giving Twigs a sexually transmitted disease, accuses him of “relentless abuse,” including sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress.
Twigs, 32, a singer/songwriter/dancer (born Tahliah Debrett Barnett), told the The New York Times she is going public to show how even a critically acclaimed musician with money, a home and a strong network of supporters could be caught in such a predicament.
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she told the Times in an interview.
Twigs' Los Angeles lawyer, Bryan Freedman, issued a statement to USA TODAY later Friday:
“Shia LaBoeuf has abused Ms. Barnett, Ms.Pho and others. We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment. Since he was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnett filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him.”
LaBeouf, 34, whose latest movie, "Pieces of a Woman," is opening Dec. 30 with a lot of buzz, responded to the allegations in an email to The Times, saying he was "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.”
USA TODAY has attempted to reach LaBeouf and his representatives.
LaBeouf and Twigs dated in 2018 and 2019, after meeting on the film “Honey Boy," a vanity project he co-wrote and which was inspired by his childhood and relationship with his father.
According to the lawsuit, Twigs says her life became a “living nightmare" after she entered a relationship with LaBeouf. She asserts LaBeouf groomed her, "gradually gaining her trust but with the intent of abusing her.” Later, he allegedly engaged in a “continuous stream” of verbal and mental abuse, “belittling” and “berating” her, which soon turned physical and “increasingly violent.”
The lawsuit describes a frightening interaction in February 2019, when Twigs and LaBeouf were in a speeding car headed toward Los Angeles from the desert, LaBeouf at the wheel. The suit says he was driving recklessly, removed his seat belt and threatened to crash unless she professed her love for him.
LaBeouf, the star of “Transformers,” had raged at her throughout the trip, the lawsuit says, once choking her after waking her up in the middle of the night.
After she begged to be let out of the car, the suit says, he pulled over at a gas station. She got out but he followed and assaulted her, throwing her against the car while screaming in her face, according to the suit. He forced her back in the car.
"For too long, LaBeouf has sought to excuse his reprehensible actions as
the eccentricities of a free-thinking 'artist,'” the lawsuit says. "Even though his history of violent behavior was well-documented, many in the media have treated LaBeouf as a harmless figure of fun.... There is nothing funny about the exploitation of and battering of women...The days in which LaBeouf can mistreat and harm women with impunity are over."
LaBeouf, in another email to the The Times regarding the specific claims in the lawsuit, wrote that “many of these allegations are not true.” But he added he owed “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”
LaBeouf has been arrested multiple times in the past for aggressive or disruptive, drunken behavior. In October, The Associated Press reported he was charged with misdemeanor battery and petty theft in connection with a June fight in Los Angeles with another man who said LaBeouf stole his hat.
In July 2017, he was arrested for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and obstruction in Savannah, Georgia. He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct, paid a $1,000 fine and was put on probation for a year.
In January of that year, he was handcuffed outside of the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens after getting into a scuffle at the site of his He Will Not Divide Us anti-Trump art project. The charges were later dropped for lack of evidence.
In 2014, he was arrested for criminal trespass and misconduct after causing a drunken disruption at a New York City theater during a performance of "Cabaret." He was forcibly removed from the theater after he was seen smoking inside, slapping strangers on the rear end, and after he threatened police.
He pleaded guilty initially but the charges were eventually dropped after he went into rehab.
Contributing: Rasha Ali