In the open letter he sent to Olivia Wilde this week—discounting her assertion that he was “fired” from her film Don’t Worry Darling—Shia LaBeouf mentions former romantic partner FKA Twigs only once. “My failings with Twigs are fundamental and real, but they are not the narrative that has been presented,” he wrote, presumably referring to a series of allegations that the British musician has made against him, suing him for “sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress” during the course of their relationship. “There is a time and a place to deal with such things,” LaBeouf wrote to Wilde, “And I am trying to navigate a nuanced situation with respect for her and the truth, hence my silence.”
In contrast, LaBeouf reportedly didn’t mention Twigs’ name at all during a new episode of Jon Bernthal’s podcast Real Ones tonight (apparently, the aforementioned “time and place” to break his “silence”), instead only referring to her as “that woman.” For example: “I hurt that woman,” he tells Bernthal during the interview, although he doesn’t appear to have addressed many of the specific allegations against him. (LaBeouf formally denied all of Twigs’ accusations against him in 2021, when he filed a motion to have her case against him dismissed.) “And in the process of doing that, I hurt many other people,” he added, in a manner similar to comments he made in December 2020, asserting that he had been “abusive” both to himself, and others, “for years.” “And many other people before that woman. I was a pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered, dishonest, inconsiderate, fearful human being.”
As with the Wilde letter, LaBeouf—who admits in the interview to infidelity and not disclosing STDs to sexual partners—cites the birth of his daughter as a transformational moment for him. He goes on to call “that woman” a “saint” who “saved his life,” because “Had she not intervened in my life and not created the avenue for me to experience ego death, I’d either have a really mediocre existence or I’d be dead in full.” (LaBeouf also states, as he has elsewhere this week, that he considered killing himself after the allegations became public. “I went and loaded up a gun and sat on my table.”)
LaBeouf—who’s currently starring in Abel Ferrara’s Padre Pio—noted how that “ego death” stemmed from his status as a member of “the tribe of the fuck-ups.” “I’m a very public sinner, a very fallible person in the public sphere, What I think now my purpose is, is to not do… The other examples that we’ve had of how to navigate something like this — which is to go after the woman, or try to win a court case, or get back into a fucking movie or like get back on at all.” (Padre Pio will debut this year in competition at the Venice International Film Festival.)
LaBeouf posits himself as he is now as a “billboard, for a principled way of living.” He also drew comparisons to Josh Brolin and Mel Gibson as actors who’ve been accused of domestic abuse in the past, and tried to chart a course through Hollywood in the aftermath. He also mentioned that he now has a “squad” of “60 dudes” who he has weekly Zoom meetings and bike rides with so that he can get feedback on his actions, “in real time.”
The two-hour interview is available on Bernthal’s Patreon. In a clip from the conversation made public on his Instagram, Bernthal (who starred with LaBeouf in 2014's Fury and then in 2019's The Peanut Butter Falcon) weighs in himself, apparently attempting to chart his own response to the allegations, saying, “I don’t know what it’s like to put my hands on a woman, or for a woman to say I put my hands on her.” He also says that his role as LaBeouf’s friend is to ensure that “you never do it again,” while also expressing support for him.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual abuse, contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.