Acclaimed musical artist FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against her former boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf. The lawsuit alleges that LeBeouf habitually abused her physically, emotionally and mentally over the course of their year-long relationship. FKA twigs, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, told the New York Times she was coming forward to raise awareness about how pervasive abuse can be, even for a woman with an established career and support network.
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” FKA twigs told the Times, accusing LaBeouf of sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress. Stylist Karolyn Pho, who also dated LaBeouf, detailed similar experiences in her relationship with LaBeouf. So much goes into breaking down a man or woman to make them OK with a certain kind of treatment,” Pho told the NYT.
LaBeouf responded to the NYT, acknowledging a history of substance abuse and apologizing to “those I have hurt” while also saying that “many of these allegations are not true.”
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.
LaBeouf said that he wanted to give women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.” He continued, saying that “I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism …but I am committed to doing what I need to do to recover, and I will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way.”
Barnett detailed months of controlling, abusive behavior at LaBeouf’s hands, saying he had rules about who she could and could not look at and how to display physical affection, in addition to distancing her from her friends and professional colleagues. Barnett’s peers told the NYT that they saw her receding and attempted to intervene, but couldn’t bridge the growing divide Barnett attributes to LaBeouf’s behavior. The Times reviewed emails Barnett sent to her therapist, in which she explained her struggle to work up the courage to leave.
“The whole time I was with him, I could have bought myself a business-flight plane ticket back to my four-story townhouse in Hackney,” in London, she said. “He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible.” She says she donates a “significant” portion of any monetary damages to charities that support women involved in domestic abuse situations.