JANUARY 26: FKA twigs attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

FKA Twigs Sues Shia LaBeouf For Sexual Battery and Assault

The musician is also suing her ex-boyfriend for emotional distress.
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CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual battery, physical and emotional abuse, and animal abuse.

In disturbing new allegations, musician FKA Twigs has sued her ex-boyfriend actor Shia LaBeouf, accusing him of sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, reads “Shia LaBeouf hurts women. He uses them. He abuses them, both physically and mentally. He is dangerous.”

FKA Twigs, born Tahliah Barnett, said the abuse took place during their relationship which lasted from 2018 to 2019. The two met while working together on LaBeouf’s autobiographical drama Honey Boy. Barnett describes episodes of truly horrific behavior, saying that LaBeouf strangled her multiple times and threw her against a car. She also describes a pattern of emotional abuse and paranoia along with violent jealousy and mood swings.

Barnett also alleges that LaBeouf knowingly gave her an STD, and displayed erratic and violent behavior, such as shooting stray dogs to prepare for a role as a violent gangster. The lawsuit is filled with similarly disturbing allegations that are too numerous to list here. “I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” said Barnett to the New York Times.

LaBeouf responded to the allegations in an email to the New York Times, writing “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.” In a subsequent email he wrote, “many of these allegations are not true,” but that he wanted to give these women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”

LaBeouf was previously accused of physical abuse by ex-girlfriend, stylist Karolyn Pho, who said he drunkenly pinned her to a bed and head-butted her. There is also video footage of a heated fight in 2015 between LaBeouf and ex-girlfriend Mia Goth, where LaBeouf was heard saying, “If I’d have stayed there, I would have killed her.”

And singer Sia, who collaborated with LaBeouf in the 2015 music video for her song “Elastic Heart”, tweeted today, “I too have been hurt emotionally by Shia, a pathological liar, who conned me into an adulterous relationship claiming to be single,” adding “I believe he’s very sick and have compassion for him AND his victims. Just know, if you love yourself- stay safe, stay away.”

LaBeouf has a long history of violent and destructive behavior, with multiple arrests for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. But like most powerful and famous men in Hollywood (and everywhere else) he’s skated by, leaning on the “tortured artist” trope to escape condemnation. The lawsuit reads, “Even though his history of violent behavior was well-documented, many in the media have treated LaBeouf as a harmless figure of fun, which has helped enable him to perpetuate his cycle of abuse of women over the years. There is nothing funny about the exploitation of and battering of women.”

FKA Twigs said she was suing to expose LaBeouf’s behavior and raise awareness, and plans to donate a portion of any court awarded funds to domestics violence non-profits. “What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she said. “I don’t think people would ever think that it would happen to me. But I think that’s the thing. It can happen to anybody.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or visit their website and live-chat at https://www.thehotline.org/.

(via New York Times, featured image: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.