Shia LaBeouf apologises for plagiarism with a message written in the sky

The actor has been tweeting about the Daniel Clowes scandal for weeks

Jess Denham
Thursday 02 January 2014 15:43
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Actor and director Shia LaBeouf has hired a skywriter to apologise after he plagiarised the work of a graphic novelist in a recent short film.

The lavish gesture saw the words “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” written in the Los Angeles sky on New Year's Day– a stunt that the 27-year old promptly snapped and tweeted along with three definitions of the word "cloud".

"Vapor floating in the atmosphere/ remote servers used to SHARE DATA/ to make LESS CLEAR or TRANSPARENT," the caption read.

LaBeouf premiered Howard Cantour.com at Cannes year but, when the 11-minute film appeared online in December, viewers noted that dialogue and many visuals had been taken from Clowes’ similar “very personal” story Justin M Damiano without a credit.

Both plotlines revolve around a conflicted film critic, and LaBeouf’s blatant plagiarism angered Clowes.

“I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind,” the author told BuzzFeed.

The Transformers actor soon posted a series of apologetic tweets aimed at Clowes, admitting his guilt and embarrassment.

“In my excitement and naivete as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation,” LaBeouf wrote.

Matters were made much worse when BuzzFeed spotted that LaBeouf’s messages closely resembled a post written four years on Yahoo! Answers by a user named Lili.

In response to the question, ‘Why did Picasso say “good artists copy but great artists steal”?’, Lili’s answer reads: “Merely copying isn’t particularly creative work, though it’s useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.”

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The actor continued to tweet atonements until the end of 2013:

LaBeouf then went on to plagiarise other famous apologies in his tweets, with many fans not realising what he was doing until he revealed he had been insincere.

It was not the first time the actor had been accused of plagiarism, after he took blocks of quotes from Tom Chiarella’s Esquire article, “What Is A Man?” and copied them into an email he sent to 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin after a spat.

LaBeouf is currently starring in Lars von Trier’s explicit movie Nymphmaniac alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jamie Bell. The film follows the erotic life of a woman from birth to the age of 50, and was promoted with a raunchy poster campaign depicting images of the cast pretending to experience orgasms.

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