‘Honey Boy’ director Alma Har’el on FKA Twigs’ lawsuit: ‘I stand with her in solidarity’

Shia LaBeouf, Alma Har'el and Noah Jupe arrive at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards held at th...

One week ago, FKA Twigs sued Shia LaBeouf for sexual battery, assault and emotional distress. Twigs and Shia dated in 2018 and into 2019, having met on the set of Honey Boy, the film Shia wrote and the film which was based on his own history as a child actor with a toxic father. Shia wrote the script in rehab, and the narrative around the Honey Boy promotion was one of redemption through sobriety, that Shia was dealing with his demons and he was in a better place. It was all a lie – at that same time, he was battering and abusing Twigs. I bring up the Honey Boy promotion because Honey Boy’s director, Alma Har’el, was a big part of the redemption narrative for Shia. They largely promoted the film together, and Har’el became one of Shia’s biggest champions. Now Har’el has released a statement about Twigs’ lawsuit – Har’el obviously worked with Twigs on Honey Boy too, and Har’el likely witnessed the first stages of Shia and Twigs’ relationship. Here’s her full statement:

“I have a deep respect for FKA Twigs’ courage and resilience. Reading what she endured left me heartbroken and I stand with her in solidarity. I’m sending my love to her, Karolyn Pho, all victims of domestic violence, and everyone who is trying to stop cycles of abuse.

As a filmmaker and an artist, I am drawn to stories that help us develop empathy for the messy parts of the human condition. Like many of Shia’s collaborators and fans who battled substance abuse, suffered childhood trauma, and face mental illness, I am painfully aware of my past investment in his recovery. I want to send a clear message today that none of the above should excuse, minimize, or rationalize domestic violence.

I’m grateful that survivors of childhood trauma have seen some aspects of themselves in Honey Boy and might feel less alone in their pain. I hope that they don’t take these events as a discouraging moment in their own recovery.

I will be donating in Twigs’ and Karolyn Pho’s names to FreeFrom, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Sistah Space. I support and encourage victims in similar situations to speak up and seek help so they can create a path to safety and the healthy relationship they deserve.”

[From Variety]

From a PR standpoint, I think she balanced that well – she’s proud of the work she did as a director, and she’s not particularly proud of caping for Shia during the promotion, given what she knows now. She believes in messy people working through messy trauma. She does not believe in giving abusers passes because they’re artists, or because they were traumatized as kids.

I don’t know if this is the fruition of the post-Me Too era, but I’ve really appreciated how little pushback Twigs has gotten from Hollywood/celebrities. Many women and many big-name activists have backed her up completely. It’s nice to see.

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13 Responses to “‘Honey Boy’ director Alma Har’el on FKA Twigs’ lawsuit: ‘I stand with her in solidarity’”

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  1. Athyrmose says:

    Something about Alma’s statement is just not sitting right with my spirit. Is it just me?

  2. Jane says:

    I’m very glad FKA twigs is getting widespread support, but I think this is more an acknowledgement of how openly toxic and friendless Shia LaBeouf is in Hollywood these days than a sign of Hollywood having changed post #MeToo. I mean, Amber Heard made similar claims about Johnny Depp and look what happened, and continues to happen, to her. But Shia seems to have succeeded in alienating everyone he’s ever come into contact with, female or male (remember a story a few years ago of him punching Tom Hardy on the set of Lawless?).

    • Christina says:

      Agreed. He burned a lot of bridges. He was given a huge break by Spieldberg (sp?), and he was really talented, but he wasn’t successful enough yet for Hollywood to treat him like Depp.

    • osito says:

      I think this is true. We’ll know if we’re seeing systemic change if we continue to see Twigs in projects; if she isn’t snubbed during awards season for worthy work; and if, in a year or two, we *don’t* see the reintroduction of Shia LaBoeuf, known domestic abuser/artiste, on the cover of one of the leading men’s magazines, a single tear peeking out of one eye.

      I definitely hope we see more of Twigs. And I hope that Karolyn Pho has nothing but success as well. I hope that a Shia LaBoeuf stops hurting other people — he’s not up for criminal charges, but it wouldn’t bother me if he was put under the jail if it stopped him from abusing others. He should have taken Twigs up on her settlement offer to get serious, sustained help.

      • Jane says:

        Luckily for her, FKA twigs is a singer and dancer first (and she’s brilliant at those things) and an actress second. She doesn’t actually need Hollywood.

    • lucy2 says:

      This is a good point. If he were more of a “beloved” figure, I think the reaction would be much more in his favor. I’m glad it’s not.

      I think her statement is decent. He’s a long time abuser, and I’m sure knows how to hide his darker side from the right people.

  3. outoftheshadows says:

    Remember that abusers do what they do in secret oftentimes. Often in the early stages abusers love bomb the subject by treating them like queens. It’s possible that is the only part the director saw–and I think her acknowledgement that one can be both abused and, later, an abuser, is smart and nuanced.

    Let’s also not hold a woman responsible for the actions of a man here. The fact that she came out and stated this publicly is not her responsibility, but a gesture of support and good will toward Twigs.

  4. DragonWise says:

    Often, the creators of projects do cape for the stars that get called out, if only to affirm that the person “never treated *me* that way!” I like her statement, but it troubles me that the bar is so low that her statement seems better than it should because so many people fail to do even the minimum. I think Alma realized that Shia was quite likely capable of such abuse, realized her former caping was not a good look, and struck the right tone at the right time. I’m okay with that, but I haven’t forgotten the context.

  5. Miasys says:

    I thought it was a decent statement, tbh. Clearly a lot of thought went into it, and kudos to her for speaking up. And on a completely frivolous note, i freaking love her hair. It is magnificent.

  6. grrrl75 says:

    I think there’s been little pushback on Twigs because he’s such a douche. If he was a Public Golden Boy I don’t think she’d have gotten the same reaction. Unfortunately.