If Shia LaBeouf's New Year's resolution was to make peace with Daniel Clowes, he's off to a rocky start.
As BuzzFeed first reported in mid-December, the actor's 2012 short film, HowardCantour.com, which he claimed was an original work, was actually a nearly word-for-word adaptation of Clowes' 2008 cartoon Justin M. Damiano. Clowes told BuzzFeed he did not give LaBeouf permission to adapt his cartoon, and was unaware of the short film until it was released online in December 2013.
On Jan. 1, LaBeouf hired an airplane to write "I Am Sorry Daniel Clowes" in the sky over Los Angeles, a gesture that failed to impress Clowes' longtime editor, Eric Reynolds.
"I imagine airplane messaging is the norm in Hollywood, but someone really should have informed Mr. LaBeouf that Mr. Clowes lives in the Bay Area before he went to all that trouble," Reynolds told BuzzFeed via email.
The aerial apology comes only after LaBeouf — who also lifted the words of authors like Kurt Vonnegut in a collection of comic books published over the last few years — spent weeks tweeting apologies that he took from increasingly famous sources. His first apology was taken from an obscure entry on Yahoo! Answers; after that bizarre theft was called out, he began using lines from mea culpas by icons and celebrities, including Robert McNamara, Tiger Woods, and Mark Zuckerberg.
The Twitter apologies continued until New Year's Eve, when LaBeouf wrote on Twitter that he was sorry for "offending you for thinking I was being serious instead of accurately realizing I was mocking you," a statement that was taken from a Red State article and that declared a strange sort of victory. But none of this started off as an attempt at ironic plagiarism.
Previously, Reynolds told BuzzFeed that Clowes was exploring his legal options in response to the plagiarism, though the cartoonist has not issued any formal statements along those lines since.