The actor called the incident a mixture of 'white privilege and desperation and disaster'
“Shia LaBeouf is ready to talk about it,” reads the headline of Esquire‘s recent profile of the actor — his first interview since he was arrested in 2017 for racially charged, expletive-laced disorderly conduct in Savannah, Georgia.
“What went on in Georgia was mortifying,” LaBeouf says, reflecting on the incident. “White privilege and desperation and disaster… It came from a place of self-centered delusion… It was me trying to absolve myself of guilt for getting arrested.”
To be more frank, he added, “I f—ed up.”
LaBeouf had been in Savannah in July of 2017 to film his upcoming movie The Peanut Butter Falcon — about a young man with Down syndrome who runs away to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler — when the 31-year-old Transformers star was arrested. Video of his exchange with officers hit the web and revealed LaBeouf spouting comments like, “You’re going to hell, straight to hell.” One officer “especially” was going to hell, LaBeouf said, “because he’s a black man.”
He was subsequently charged with public drunkenness (which was later dropped) and disorderly conduct. LaBeouf issued an apology in the aftermath, stating, “I am deeply ashamed of my behavior and make no excuses for it.” In October, the actor plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction and was placed on a year’s probation.
LaBeouf has since revealed to Esquire an interaction he had with his The Peanut Butter Falcon costar, Zack Gottsagen, after getting out of jail. “You’re already famous. This is my chance. And you’re ruining it,” LaBeouf recalls Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, saying. “To hear him say that he was disappointed in me probably changed the course of my life. ‘Cause I was still fighting. I was still on my ‘Look how fast they released the videos! They don’t release these!’ Just on my defense-mechanism-fear garbage. And you can’t do that to him. He keeps it one thousand with you, and that s— doesn’t even make sense to him. Zack can’t not shoot straight, and bless him for it, ’cause in that moment, I needed a straight shooter who I couldn’t argue with.”
The actor also opened up about PTSD he feels from a childhood incident in which he heard his mother being raped. “When I got to rehab last year, they said I had PTSD,” LaBeouf recalled. It’s the same feeling of “You need to avenge your mother” he says contributed to his first arrest when he went after a man who “bumped into my mother’s car with his car in a parking lot.”
LaBeouf now says he’s trying to “look at my failures in the face,” “take ownership of my sh– and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again.”
“I’ve been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life,” he added. “The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot.”
Head over to Esquire to read the full profile.