Shia LaBeouf proudly made his 2012 directorial debut HowardCantour.com available to the masses yesterday through Vimeo.com. And it took those masses just a few short hours to figure out that the entire thing had been shamelessly plagiarized.
LaBeouf, of course, is no stranger to plagiarism, but his theft of Ghost World cartoonist Daniel Clowes's 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano was egregious even for him.
Here's what Fantagraphics, Clowes publisher, had to say about it:
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.
"I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind," Clowes himself told BuzzFeed when reached for comment.
Interviewed this week about the short film, LaBeouf (a "huge Daniel Clowes fan," according to his ex-girlfriend Karolyn Pho) insisted the idea for HowardCantour.com came about organically through his own experiences of being "crushed by critics."
Shortly thereafter, the "uncanny similarities" between LaBeouf's film and Clowes comic became impossible to ignore, and LaBeouf took the Vimeo video offline (it remains up on BuzzFeed, alongside a page from Justin M. Damiano for comparison.)
LaBeouf finally broke his silence on Twitter late last night, posting an apology for "failing to credit" Daniel Clowes, and acknowledging that he "fucked up."
Here it is in full:
Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work. In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation. I’m 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. I fucked up.
Some, however, weren't quite ready to forgive and forget.
Patton Oswalt agreed with LaBeouf that he fucked up, and not just for stealing Clowes's work, but also for following that up with a "bullshit apology."
[tweet via @thecampaignbook, photo via Getty]