The odd standoff between Shia LaBeouf, cartoonist Dan Clowes and indie publisher Melville House over the movie star’s plagiarism continues after LaBeouf apparently hired a plane to skywrite an apology to the cartoonist. Comics news site Bleeding Cool displayed photographs of the airborne apology and also engaged in an e-mail exchange with LaBeouf about his acts of plagiarism.
On New Year’s Day, Bleeding Cool showed photographs of a plane from World Wide Sky Ads skywriting “I Am Sorry Daniel Clowes" in the skies over Los Angeles. The next day, Bleeding Cool publisher Rich Johnston appears to have engaged LaBeouf in an e-mail colloquy about his admitted plagiarizing of a Clowes comics strip. The e-mail exchange follows a familiar critical argument about the nature of art and originality in the 21st century. LaBeouf’s e-mail discussion focuses on the twin notions that copyright itself is a form of censorship and that the primary creative role of the contemporary artist is not to create something new and original but to “point” at other art and instigate discussion.
LaBeouf has admitted plagiarizing the Clowes comic for his short film HowardCantour.com, and even apologized earlier through a series of tweets that were themselves “quotations,” that were also plagiarized. In addition, the movie star appears to have ripped off large chunks of Benoit Duteurtre’s novel The Little Girl and the Cigarette, a novel published by Melville House, for his mini-comics. He has since removed the film from its Web site and removed his comics from Issuu, the document sharing platform.
While LaBeouf, or someone claiming to be LaBeouf, continues to reach out to Clowes, albeit in the strangest ways imaginable, the star has yet to address the plagiarism of Duteurtre’s novel. In the wake of the skywriting stunt, Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson released a new statement.
“We are puzzled by the fact that, considering the egregious plagiarism of our author’s work by Mr. Laboeuf, he has taken such a cavalier attitude with regard to this matter. We have been conferring with legal counsel over the holidays with the intention to pursue our legal remedies should we not hear from Mr. Laboeuf promptly to remedy this matter.”