The trajectory of an A-list fall out rarely surprises. Star meets star, egos run out of sync, agents plant bitchy stories in the press. But this week - with the Shia LaBeouf and Alec Baldwin split - gossip watchers were treated to a bizarre twist in the old routine. First, a macho and apparently heartfelt apology posted on Twitter. Second, the revelation that this email was almost entirely cribbed from a 2009 essay in Esquire. Oops!
The guilty pen-pal in this case was LaBeouf, who stepped down recently from his part in a Broadway production of Orphans, in which the Transformers star had been slated to appear alongside Baldwin and British actor Tom Sturridge.
"Creative differences" were cited. Then LaBeouf published on Twitter an email apparently sent to Baldwin in apology. Here's what he had to say:
My dad was a drug dealer. He was a sh-t human. But he was a man. He taught me how to be a man. What I know of men, Alec is-
A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. His job.
A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, from your posture. A man infers.
A man owns up. That's why Mark McGwire is not a man. A man grasps his mistakes. He lays claim to who he is, and what he was, whether he likes them or not.
Some mistakes, though, he lets pass if no one notices. Like dropping the steak in the dirt.
He does not rely on rationalizations or explanations. He doesn't winnow, winnow, winnow until truths can be humbly categorized, or intellectualized, until behavior can be written off with an explanation.
A man knows his tools and how to use them – just the ones he needs. Knows which saw is for what, how to find the stud.
A man does not know everything. He doesn't try. He likes what other men know.
A man can tell you he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to.
He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologize, even if sometimes it's just to put an end to the bickering.
Alec, I'm sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable situation. - Shia.
On closer inspection this turned out to be plutonium grade plagiarism, as reported in Jezebel, who ran the email side-by-side with a 2009 Esquire essay called 'How to Be a Man'. Basically the only part that's pure LaBeouf in the whole incomprehensible "a man must be a man" spiel is the first two lines.
So, for any future A-listers too busy to pen their own apology note - here's one that can be used for a copy-paste job.
I'm sorry I didn't have the time to write this myself.
You see, I'm on the phone to about seven Harvey Weinsteins at the same time, talking about my next part.
And to be honest, I'm not really all that sorry anyway.
So next time we meet I hope you thank me for this heartfelt note. But also know that even the signature's been forged by my PA