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Shia LaBeouf on plagiarism allegation: ‘I (screwed) up’

Updated: 2013-12-17T19:11:42Z

By LISA GUTIERREZ

The Kansas City Star

Shia LaBeouf has apologized for not crediting the work of artist Dan Clowes in his new, 12-minute short film, which he posted online Monday.

“HowardCantour.com” stars Jim Gaffigan as movie critic Howard Cantour in what one website described as “a brutally honest take-down of internet movie critics.”

That website, FirstShowing.net, which had posted the film, locked it down with a password after news started to spread that Shia had plagiarized the film from a comic created by Clowes.

The film has since been removed from Shia’s website, too.

A remorseful Shia sent out a series of tweets on Tuesday apologizing for what he’d done.

"Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work,” he tweeted.

"In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation"

"Im embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration"

"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."

"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"

He added this: "I (expletive) up."

People who know the work of Clowes were quick to spot the similarities after the film was released online Monday.

Jacquelene Cohen, publicity and promotions director at Fantagraphics Books, sent an email to Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing.net.

She wrote: “Shia LaBeouf's new short film, HowardCantour.com, is a complete rip off of Daniel Clowes's comic 'Justin M. Damiano.' Every-word from the 4 page comic created by Clowes in 2006 is used in the script for LaBeouf's directional debut.

“Clowes never authorized the use of his comic for HowardCantour.com. He had no knowledge that he had been plagiarized until today when the film was posted on Vimeo.”

Clowes, who is not mentioned in the film’s credits, told BuzzFeed that he didn’t know anything about the film until someone sent him a link.

“I've never spoken to or met Mr. LaBeouf ... I actually can't imagine what was going through his mind," he told BuzzFeed.

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