Shia LaBeouf may need to prepare for a legal battle over his short film that plagiarized the work of artist Daniel Clowes. According to Eric Reynolds, the artist's long-time editor and the associate publisher at Fantagraphics, Clowes is pursuing his legal options.
As BuzzFeed first reported, LaBeouf's short film, HowardCantour.com, which premiered at Cannes in 2012 and was posted online Monday, is a nearly word-for-word adaptation of Clowes' 2007 short comic Justin M. Damiano. The artist told BuzzFeed he had no knowledge of LaBeouf's intentions, and the actor-director's late night mea culpa on Twitter is only making matters worse; his claims that he "got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation" and that "being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work," outraged Reynolds.
"His apology is a non-apology, absolving himself of the fact that he actively misled, at best, and lied, at worst, about the genesis of the film," Reynolds wrote to BuzzFeed in an email on Tuesday. "No one 'assumes' authorship for no reason. He implied authorship in the film credits itself, and has gone even further in interviews. He clearly doesn't get it, and that's disturbing. I'm not sure if it's more disturbing that he plagiarized, or that he could rationalize it enough to think it was OK and that he might actually get away with it. Fame clearly breeds a false sense of security."
It has also been discovered that LaBeouf's apology was seemingly copied in part from an entry on Yahoo! Answers. A rep for LaBeouf has not yet replied to BuzzFeed's request for comment regarding the origins of HowardCantour.com and the allegedly ripped-off apology.