Robot 6

Shia LaBeouf accused of plagiarizing Daniel Clowes [Updated]

UPDATE 12/17/13 10:45 AM: CBR News reached star Jim Gaffigan’s management for comment: “Jim was an actor for hire on this project and had no creative input. We were all as surprised by this news as everybody else.”

UPDATE 11:05 PM: Shia LaBeouf has responded to reports via Twitter. Click here to read LeBouf’s response.



Actor and occasional cartoonist Shia LaBeouf has released online a short film titled, which stars comedian Jim Gaffigan as a defensive Internet film critic. Nothing wrong with that, except, as BuzzFeed noticed, the film bears a striking resemblance to Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic by Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes.

As the website points out, the film and the comic open with the same narration: “A critic is a warrior, and each of us on the battlefield have the means to glorify or demolish (whether a film, a career, or an entire philosophy) by influencing perception in ways that if heartfelt and truthful, can have far-reaching repercussions.”

It goes on from there. According to BuzzFeed and Wired, the film copies or approximates Clowes’ dialogue throughout, although LeBeouf – who, by the way, is on record as being a fan of Clowes’ work – has been quoted as saying the film came about “organically.”

Asked for comment, Clowes told BuzzFeed he was “shocked, to say the least,” and that he couldn’t “imagine what was going through his mind.” For his part, LeBeouf has remained silent, although the film is now password-protected; it still can be viewed on BuzzFeed.

The film has been making the festival rounds for months, even screening for in May 2012 at Cannes, with at least one critic thinking it was a legitimate adaptation (hat tip to Joe McCulloch).

For what it’s worth, this apparently isn’t the first time LaBeouf has been accused of plagarism.

Updated 11:08 PM PDT: LaBeouf has taken to Twitter this evening, offering an explanation and an apology to Daniel Clowes. The full tweets follow:







The soundtrack was scored by Nick Simmons.

You should really proof read this article..

^ this.

ONmedz: Yes, the article could have used a good proofreading. However, the same is true of your comment, given that “proofread” is one word and sentences don’t need two periods.

Let’s ignore the content and just focus on grammar like some idiots.

Can’t LeBeouf just cite Clowes’ work properly instead?

In what world is LeBeouf think it was ok to plagiarize?

Way to put your neck on the line. “Accused” of plagiarising!?! Bears a “striking resemblance to”!?! And no, the italics don’t save you here. Where’s the outrage? Clowes is ‘one of ours’ and he deserves better. A LOT better. People should be clear that this IS plagiarism and you have the forum to make it clear. Why pussyfoot about. If you’re a journalist go for the jugular. If you’re not a journalist … well, carry on.

I’m sorry if that sounds overly harsh, but I’m outraged by this, and I woke up this morning still outraged expecting, at the very least, a few industry websites to have taken to task the unscrupulous man that did this.

If he gets away with it (and right now it looks very much like he will), what’s next? People might actually want to think about that. From where I’m sat, it’s the job of the industry’s journalists to kick up some fuss about this. I look forward to reading that.

Centipede Damascus

December 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Robin, I think ComicsAlliance’s coverage might be more to your tastes.

“Failed Comic Artist Shia LaBeouf Makes Film Based on Daniel Clowes’ Comic Without Permission” –

So he’s as good a filmmaker as he is a cartoonist and actor?

How about we ignore grammar AND content like some other idiots?? (named Scott, who commented not on content at all) zing pow biff, flame on etc.

Article was choppy and hard to read, fair point to make. I had to read the first paragraph twice while on my phone. Nobody was calling for Chris to be stoned to death in the nerd town square over it, just a few comments about how hard it was to read.

As for content, I mean, it’s Shia. Dude seems to want to devolve to being as gross as he can get, and burning every last ounce of good will he ever had ever, because yeah. Hope Clowes gets to punch him in his face someday, is about the only thing I can muster.

Nobody seems to care about Shia LeBeouf. The two people with the most to say were just whiners and they don’t count. Hell, one of them is whining about someone else not whining enough.

I love how twitter has become the official place for apologies nowadays. Full statements with actual sentences on a website or something? Nope. It’s better to have choppy 140 characters statements.

Dear Shia,

If you were an actual real artist than you would know that our entire community considers the word “inspire” equivalent to “ripping off.”

– Dan

P.S. Please, by all means, forever continue in your aspirations towards being an indie whatever-it-is-this-month. You’ve done enough damage to my childhood and Back to the Future is the one and only IP remaining unblemished.

No, no, no, no, no!!!

Shia LePunk. Will soon be adding failed actor to his resume in the near future.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for a link to the Yahoo Answer Labeouf cribbed his “apology” from!

“Why pussyfoot about. If you’re a journalist go for the jugular. If you’re not a journalist … well, carry on.”

That’s kind of the opposite of what a journalist is supposed to do. Journalists report facts. If you want people going for the jugular, there are lots of “news” programs on cable that will be perfect for your needs.

“Can’t LeBeouf just cite Clowes’ work properly instead?”


“Inspiration” is one thing.
“West Side Story” was inspired by “Romeo and Juliet”.
“Forbidden Planet” was inspired by “The Tempest”.
Note, NO dialogue, narration or any other “elements” of the original stories are in the later projects.

LaBeouf took narration, dialogue, even “camera angles” from directly from Clowes’ work.
This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
(Imagine if LaBeouf had cribbed from, say Harlan Ellison!
I shudder just thinking of it!)

BTW, Shia ADMITS he took the work…
“I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short.
I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it.”
Do you think he’d try to do the same thing with a short story by, say, Stephen King…without buying the rights?

THAT’S the most powerful statement, right there, Atomic Kommie — this wouldn’t happen to a Stephen King story. But a Clowes tale, that I admittedly am unaware of as a comics fan so it’s even that much more removed from the mainstream — THAT’S fair game. Clearly, LeBeouf thought, “Who would know?” That reveals his true “appreciation” for comics, doesn’t it?

Ironic that Buzzfeed would accuse anyone of plagiarizing

Didn’t LeBeouf pull a Matt Broderick and kill a guy with his car? Or am I just confusing another story with the way he killed his career swinging on a vine with CGI monkeys in Crystal Skull?

Why am I not surprised? He can’t act either.

Curious. What if Shia intentionally left out proper accreditation or any acknowledgement of the similarities to Clowes’ work just so he could get away with putting it out and get more buzz later on.

Sometimes it’s easier to say sorry than to ask permission.

“What if Shia intentionally left out proper accreditation or any acknowledgement of the similarities to Clowes’ work just so he could get away with putting it out and get more buzz later on.
Sometimes it’s easier to say sorry than to ask permission.”

Not in the case of copyright infringement.
For example: the producers of the 1920s movie “Nosferatu” had to destroy all the prints of the movie when Bram Stoker’s estate won a copyright infringment case proving the movie was an unauthorized adaptation of “Dracula”.
The only prints of the now-public domain flick that survived were in places like Australia and South America.
Those are the ones on DVD.

Copyright enforcement has gotten stronger over the years…
Google “Harlan Ellison” “Terminator” and “James Cameron” to see a classic recent example…

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