Earlier today, the news broke that a short film directed and allegedly written by Shia LaBeouf bore a striking resemblance to a comic by Dan Clowes. As in, whole passages of dialogue and shots from the film appeared to be taken directly from the comic, with basically the only major change being the names of the characters. Tonight, LaBeouf's official Twitter account published a mealy-mouthed apology:
Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.
It sounds kind of like LaBeouf is claiming that he's producing something "new and different." Having read the strip in question and seen the film, I can attest that there's not really much of anything new and different in his film. He changed a mention of bagels to cookies, but superficial shit like that is all that was changed.
In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation
This seems like a stretch, too. The film had a long, very official-looking credits scroll, and Clowes was never mentioned in those credits. LaBeouf never mentions Clowes anywhere in interviews he did for the movie. He never contacted Clowes to ask permission to adapt his comic. He never tried to pay Clowes for the adaptation.
Im embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration
He knew that it would make a relevant and poignant short, but he didn't care enough to explain where the short came from? And he apologizes to "all who assumed" he wrote it? This is about as passive as an apology can get. He actively misled people by not including mention of Clowes anywhere in the work. Of course someone is going to assume that a film credited as "a film by Shia LaBeouf" is going to be directed and written by LaBeouf. That's a safe assumption to make. The fact that there's no mention of the source material indicates that LaBeouf had some hand in leading the viewer to make that assumption.
I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work
This seems true. It's at least obvious that LaBeouf thinks highly of Dan Clowes. Just not highly enough to credit or pay him for his work. About an hour after that barrage of tweets was published, LaBeouf published this one: