Shia LaBeouf’s anti-Trump live-stream installation, HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US, has been shut down by The Museum of the Moving Image in New York over concerns of violence and public safety.
“The installation created a serious and ongoing public safety hazard for the Museum, its visitors, staff, local residents, and businesses. The installation had become a flashpoint for violence and was disrupted from its original intent,” a statement posted on the museum’s website reads.
The statement continued, “While the installation began constructively, it deteriorated markedly after one of the artists was arrested on the site of the installation and ultimately necessitated this action. Over the course of the installation, there have been dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests, such that police felt compelled to be stationed outside the installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take our commitment to the safety of our 200,000 annual visitors and 50,000 school children attending programs at the Museum seriously, along with the safety and security of our staff and community.”
In response to the news, LaBeouf tweeted, “The museum has abandoned us.”
LaBeouf launched HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US with collaborators Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö in January, ahead of President Trump’s inauguration. The planned four-year-long public installation featured a continuous live stream just outside of the museum and encouraged attendees to say the words “He will not divide us” into the camera.
The project, however, made headlines almost immediately when LaBeouf got into a shouting match with an attendee. As shown in a clip posted to the installation’s Twitter page, the actor confronted a man who appeared to be spouting white supremacist rhetoric.
LaBeouf was arrested days later after an alleged physical altercation with a 25-year-old man who shouted, “Hitler did nothing wrong,” as depicted in another clip from the live-stream.
“We are proud to have launched this engaging and thought-provoking digital art installation which was experienced by millions of online viewers worldwide,” the museum’s statement added. “Until public safety concerns overrode the intent of the installation, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US generated an important conversation allowing interaction among people from many backgrounds and with different viewpoints. However, ending our engagement with the installation is the most prudent path forward to restore public safety to the Museum, its visitors, staff, and the community.”