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British musician FKA Twigs has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against actor Shia LeBeouf, citing a long-term abusive relationship, according to a report from The New York Times on Friday.
FKA Twigs, 32, whose birth name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, says she’s come forward with the alleged abuse to showcase how even a world-famous musician, with ample money and support, can still be stuck in an abusive relationship.
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she told the Times.
In the lawsuit, Barnett accuses LaBeouf, 34, of assault, sexual battery and infliction of emotional distress. She also says the actor knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted infection.
Among other things, Barnett brings up an incident at a gas station in February 2019, when LaBeouf allegedly drove recklessly, “removing his seatbelt and threatening to crash unless she professed her love for him.” According to the filed lawsuit, she asked to get out of the car at the gas station and he let her, but then followed and proceeded to throw her against the car, scream at her and force her to get back in.
LaBeouf released a statement to the Times on Thursday, responding to Barnett’s allegations.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said in an email. “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.”
As of this writing, LaBeouf has not directly addressed the lawsuit. Global News has reached out to his representative for further comment.
The Times article also outlines the accusations made by another of LaBeouf’s ex-girlfriends, 31-year-old stylist Karolyn Pho, some of which are described at length in the lawsuit.
Pho’s allegations include more aggressiveness, including an incident in which LaBeouf held her down on a bed and head-butted her.
In a separate email to the Times, LaBeouf said that “many of these allegations are not true,” but his exes should be given “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”
He reiterated that he’s currently sober, in therapy and a member of a 12-step program.
“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,” he wrote in the email.
Barnett and Pho describe similar abusive relationships with LaBeouf, alleging he was excessively jealous of other men, to the point that he would dictate rules to his girlfriends. According to the lawsuit, they were not to make eye contact with other men, and they’d have to kiss him and touch him a certain number of times per day.
Barnett also claimed that LaBeouf tried to isolate her by making her stay in Los Angeles, which is a known tactic of control in abusive relationships. She alleges that he’d keep a loaded gun by the bed and frequently start verbal altercations. At one time, while planning to leave him, she alleges in the lawsuit that, enraged, he physically picked her up and locked her in a room when she refused to go with him.
“What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she told the Times. “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.”
Barnett said she’s planning to donate a “significant portion” of any monetary damages resulting from the lawsuit to charities focusing on domestic violence.
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