Heads up: Top comment and controversy

Not 100% LaBeouf: Shia plagiarises apology note to Alec Baldwin

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

Ta ra!

React Now

  • Get to the point
Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions