A day after news broke that FKA Twigs (Tahliah Barnett) was suing Shia LaBeouf over alleged physical, emotional and mental abuse while they were dating, Sia has tweeted that she has been “hurt emotionally” by Shia, calling him a “pathological liar”.
“I too have been hurt emotionally by Shia, a pathological liar, who conned me into an adulterous relationship claiming to be single,” Sia tweeted alongside an article about FKA Twigs’ lawsuit. “I believe he’s very sick and have compassion for him AND his victims. Just know, if you love yourself – stay safe, stay away.”
In a second tweet, Sia added: “Also I love you @FKAtwigs. This is very courageous and I’m very proud of you.”
This is the first we’ve heard that Sia and Shia had dated. Shia starred in the music video for Sia’s single “Elastic Heart” in 2015, back when she was married to documentary filmmaker Erik Anders Lang. They divorced a year later. It’s not known when Shia and Sia dated, or who he was dating when he “claimed to be single”.
In her lawsuit, FKA Twigs claims that during her relationship with Shia in 2018-2019, she suffered sexual battery, assault and emotional distress by Shia, and that he had “knowingly” given her an STI. After the story of it broke, FKA Twigs wrote a long post on Instagram, telling fans it may be “surprising” for them to learn she was in an “emotionally and physically abusive relationship”.
“It was hard for me to process too, during and after I never thought something like this would happen to me,” she wrote. “Which is why I have decided it’s important for me to talk about it and try to help people understand that when you are under the coercive control of an abuser or in an interpersonal violent relationship leaving doesn’t feel like a safe or achievable option.”
In an interview with The New York Times, FKA Twigs called dating Shia “the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life” and said she wanted to raise awareness of the “tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency”.
Shia defended himself in the article, saying “many of these allegations are not true”, but admitted that he owed FKA Twigs and another woman whose claims feature in the lawsuit, Karolyn Pho, “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and [for me to] accept accountability for those things I have done.”
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel,” he told The New York Times. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”
The lawsuit alleges that in February 2019, Shia had threatened to crash a car he was driving with FKA Twigs inside unless she said she loved him. He’d also woken her up in the middle of the night by choking her and, separately, assaulted her, throwing her against a car and screaming in her face.
A rep for FKA Twigs told The Hollywood Reporter: “We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment. Since he was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnett filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him.”
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Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.