Every once in a while, a performer comes along to push boundaries. Andy Kaufman did it. Joaquin Phoenix did it. Shia LaBeouf has been doing it for years. But his recent attempt to protest President Trump turned into an embarrassing debacle.
LaBeouf began his career playing bit parts in various movies and television shows. He came to fame in his role in “Even Stevens” (2000-2003). He was in films like “Holes” (2003), “I, Robot” (2004), and “Disturbia” (2007). He then exploded to stardom, playing the lead role in the “Transformers” film series (2007-2011).
Over the years, Shia managed to avoid the stigma of being typecast, an impressive achievement for a young actor. He eventually left the “Transformers” franchise to pursue boundary-breaking roles in “Lawless” (2012) and “Fury” (2014). It was in the midst of these boundary-breaking roles that LaBeouf began to break the ultimate boundary — the fourth wall.
In 2012, he faced legitimate accusations of plagiarism when his film “Howard Cantour.com” was revealed to have been a ripoff of American cartoonist Daniel Clowes’ 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano. He caused further controversy when fans discovered that he had plagiarized his public apology from a 2010 “Yahoo Answer.”
LaBeouf perpetuated this obvious performance art through a live art exhibit, by hiring an airplane skywriter to “write” an apology in the sky, and so on. He has contributed in multiple performance art pieces. He even appeared nude in a Sigur Rós music video.
The skilled troll has maintained his relevance most recently in the form of political protest. He oversaw an anti-Trump art installation titled “He Will Not Divide Us,” which featured a white wall with the title words in black text and a video camera that recorded a livestream of the location. The exhibit, originally intended as a four-year installation, has been moved and removed due to vandalism and violence.
Shia LaBeouf rebooted his “He Will Not Divide Us” exhibit in an undisclosed location. This time, his team erected a large flag pole and hoisted a “He Will Not Divide Us” flag and monitored the location under livestream. While this measure of dedication to his performance revealed uncanny trolling capabilities, Shia was no match for 4chan.
Less than two days after the livestream began, posters on /pol worked together to discover the location. By observing airplane contrails and star patterns, they isolated the general region of the flagpole (which could have been anywhere in the world) to Green County, Tennessee. After this, they parked cars around the vicinity and honked their horns to help triangulate the exact location.
Once they discovered the precise location, they removed the “He Will Not Divide Us Flag” and replaced it with a “Make America Great Again” red cap and a t-shirt featuring Pepe and President Trump.
LaBeouf deserves respect for his hilarious art, but /pol won this round. Is that all you got, Shia LaBeouf?