FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf, alleging sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
On Friday, the musician, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, filed legal documents in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing the “Transformers” actor of “relentless abuse” during their relationship, which lasted just short of a year.
Among a number of accusations, the singer cites an alleged incident around Valentine’s Day 2019 that occurred when the two took a trip to the desert.
In the lawsuit, Barnett accuses LaBeouf of once waking her up in the middle of the night and choking her.
When the two drove back home to Los Angeles, LaBeouf, allegedly driving recklessly, removed his seatbelt and threatened to crash unless Barnett professed her love for him.
After Barnett begged to be let out of the car, she said he pulled over at a gas station and she took her bags from the trunk. However, she claims that LaBeouf then followed her, threw her against the car while screaming in her face, and then forced her back into the car.
Barnett also alleges that LaBeouf knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease, would squeeze or grab her to the point of bruising, had rules about how many times a day she had to kiss and touch him, and kept a loaded firearm by the bed.
She says she did not go to the police because she initially thought the allegations would harm LaBeouf’s career, and later believed her claims would not be taken seriously.
In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Barnett opened up about her decision to come forward with her account.
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she told the magazine.
Stylist Karolyn Pho, another one of LaBeouf’s exes, also detailed allegations against the actor to The Times, some of which are featured in the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Pho alleges that LaBeouf drunkenly pinned her to a bed and head-butted her to the point of bleeding.
“So much goes into breaking down a man or woman to make them okay with a certain kind of treatment,” Pho said in an interview with The Times.
Per the suit, both Barnett and Pho claim that LaBeouf did not like it if they spoke to or looked at male waiters, and Barnett also alleges she learned to keep her eyes down when men spoke to her.
According to a sworn statement from a witness, identified by The Times as Barnett’s housekeeper, in Spring 2019, Barnett was packing to leave when LaBeouf allegedly showed up unannounced and terrorized her. When Barnett would not leave with him, he allegedly “violently grabbed” her, picked her up, and locked her in another room.
“The whole time I was with him, I could have bought myself a business-flight plane ticket back to my four-story townhouse in Hackney,” Barnett told The Times. “He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible.”
On Thursday, LaBeouf responded to the allegations from Barnett and Pho, admitting to The Times that he has struggled with “alcoholism,” “aggression,” and “abusive” behavior in the past.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said in an email. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. 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.”
However, when presented with a detailed list of the allegations against him, LaBeouf told The Times in a separate email that “many of these allegations are not true.” He did say, however, that he owed the women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”
He also said he is in therapy and is “a sober member of a 12-step program.”
“I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism," he wrote, “but I am committed to doing what I need to do to recover, and I will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way.”
Per her lawsuit, Barnett says she plans to donate a significant portion of any monetary damages she may be awarded to domestic violence charities.
“What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she said. “I don’t think people would ever think that it would happen to me. But I think that’s the thing. It can happen to anybody.”