FKA Twigs Sues Shia LaBeouf, Accuses Him of Sexual and Physical Abuse
By Antoinette Bueno
FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, Shia LaBeouf, accusing him of "relentless abuse," including sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress, ET confirms. The New York Times was first to report the news.
FKA twigs, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. In an interview with The New York Times, she claims that during her relationship with the 34-year-old Transformers star -- which lasted about a year after the two met when she was cast in his 2019 film, Honey Boy -- he would grab her to the point of bruising, isolated her from her professional team, and also knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
"I'd like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency," she says of why she has decided to file a lawsuit.
Another one of LaBeouf's exes, stylist Karolyn Pho, also accuses him of abusive behavior in the lawsuit, according to the report. Pho claims he once drunkenly pinned her to a bed and head-butted her, to the point where she bled.
FKA's attorney, Bryan Freedman, says in a statement to ET, "Shia LaBoeuf has abused Ms. Barnett, Ms.Pho and others. We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment. Since he was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnett filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him."
ET has reached out to LaBeouf's rep for comment. LaBeouf did respond to FKA and Pho's claims in emails to The New York Times. He wrote that "many of these allegations are not true."
"I'm not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel," LaBeouf also wrote. "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."
"I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism," he continued, noting he's in therapy and a sober member of a 12-step program. "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."
Meanwhile, in the lawsuit, FKA says that LaBeouf first won her over with "over-the-top displays of affection," but then claims he displayed abusive behavior such as having rules about how many times a day she had to kiss and touch him and not letting her wear clothes to bed.
The 32-year-old singer describes one alleged incident after Valentine's Day in 2019, when she claims he drove recklessly and threatened to crash unless she professed her love for him. She alleges that after she begged to be let out of the car, he pulled over at a gas station and assaulted her, throwing her against the car while screaming at her, then forced her back in the car.
She says she eventually left LaBeouf with the help of a therapist, though it took several attempts. "He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible," she tells the newspaper.
FKA says she didn't go to the police for help for fear of harming her career and that she wouldn't be taken seriously. "I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me," she says. "I'm unconventional. And I'm a person of color who is a female."
The singer plans to donate a big part of any monetary damages she receives from the lawsuit to domestic-violence charities. "What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I've ever been through in the whole of my life," she says. "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."
On Friday, FKA shared a snapshot of the New York Times article on her Instagram, and further explained why she's speaking out.
"My second worst nightmare is being forced to share with the world that I am a survivor of domestic violence," she wrote in part. "My first worst nightmare is not telling anyone and knowing that I could have helped even just one person by sharing my story."
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential.