FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf, accusing the actor of physical, emotional, and mental abuse, The New York Times reports. While their relationship last just under a year, twigs, whose real name is Tahliah Barnett, has revealed that LaBeouf abused her on numerous occasions, citing sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit highlights one incident in particular that took place in early 2019. Barnett recalled a tumultuous trip to the desert during which LaBeouf woke her up by choking her in the middle of the night. On their way back home, the 34-year-old actor engaged in reckless driving, going so far as to removing his seatbelt and promising he would crash the vehicle if Barnett didn't profess her love for him. After she begged to be let out of the vehicle, LaBeouf stopped at a gas station and assaulted Barnett by throwing her up against the car and screaming at her when she tried to leave, ultimately forcing her back into the vehicle.
According to the 32-year-old singer/actress, this was just one of many instances of abuse she encountered at the hand of LaBeouf. Unfortunately, she isn't his only victim.
Karolyn Pho, a stylist and former girlfriend of LaBeouf, was physically abused by the actor as well, as cited in the lawsuit. The suit details Shia pinning her to a bed and head-butting her to the point of drawing blood.
“So much goes into breaking down a man or woman to make them OK with a certain kind of treatment,” she said.
As for Barnett, she has now come forward to explain how a celebrity with money, a home, and a good support system can become entangled in the cycle of abuse.
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she said in an interview. “What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life. 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.”
Since getting wind of the allegations, LaBeouf has responded, not by denying the abuse, but by apologizing for his many years of reckless behavior.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he told The New York Times. “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 has yet to directly address Barnett's claims of "relentless abuse," ones that state he knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease. In an email, however, he insisted that “many of these allegations are not true," although he continued by stating that he owed the women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”
“I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism," LaBeouf went on, “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.”
The actor's abuse against women predates his relationship with Barnett. In 2015, strangers recorded an argument with his then-girlfriend Mia Goth. LaBeouf eventually ended up telling the individuals, “If I’d have stayed there, I would’ve killed her.”
LaBeouf's domestic abuse is not only an act of misogyny, but in the case of FKA twigs, who is of Jamaican and Spanish decent, it is also racism.
If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted, there are resources to help you. Donate to Rape Crisis here (UK) or RAINN here (U.S.).