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Shia LaBeouf apologizes over plagiarism scandal

Shia LaBeouf apologizes over plagiarism scandal

When he’s not making waves by starring in terrible robot movies, dropping music videos for arty Icelandic songs, or getting into drunken street fights, Shia LaBeouf apparently also likes to rob famous comic book creators.

Earlier this week, the “Transformers” star found himself in hot water after his short film “HowardCantour.com” was released online. It turns out that LaBeouf’s film, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last year, is actually a direct adaptation of acclaimed cartoonist Daniel Clowes’ 2007 comic book “Justin M. Damiano.”

Both the comic and the short film focus on a dour film critic (played by comedian Jim Gaffigan in LaBeouf’s film) and feature strikingly similar, and at times identical, dialogue. Despite this, at no point does the short film mention or reference Clowes or his graphic novel. LaBeouf acknowledged Clowes’ “influence” on “HowardCantour.com” only after he was caught, apologizing in a series of tweets:

LaBeouf ended his confession with the words, “I screwed up.” Online discussions about LaBeouf’s blatant plagiarism quickly turned from outrage to comedy, giving rise to a hashtag #MoviesShiaLaBeouf on Twitter and other social media. The meme gives inept titles to imaginary LeBeouf-directed movies that are very clearly just rip-offs of better-known films. Here are some of the highlights:

Of course, this would be a lot more fun if plagiarism weren’t such a serious crime. Such fraudulent practices will get you thrown out of college and are the kiss of death for professional writers.

Even if LaBeouf describes what he did as “inspiration” and “getting lost in the creative process,” it’s plagiarism. Plain and simple. No amount of apologetic tweets after the fact will change that. If all that comes out of this Howard Cantour disaster is some hilarious Twitter criticism, then LaBeouf should really consider himself lucky.