English singer-songwriter FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against American actor Shia Labeouf for numerous allegations of sexual battery, assault and emotional abuse.
The two were in a relationship together for nearly a year, but much of the suit focuses on a February, 2019 incident in which FKA twigs (real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett) alleges Labeouf drove recklessly on the way back from a desert trip. She told the New York Times that she begged him to let her out of the car, and when he stopped at a gas station she got out and took her bags out of the trunk, but he assaulted her and forced her back into the vehicle.
Their were many other instances of abuse throughout the time they were together, according to the suit. Barnett said she was conditioned to look down whenever another man was present so as not to upset Labeouf, and he set rules about how many times per day she needed to kiss him. She moved to L.A. to live with him, which she said further isolated her as he led her to distrust her team in London.
Barnett said that in spring 2019 she began to try to break things off with Labeouf at the advice of a therapist. According to a sworn affidavit from a housekeeper, he forced her into a room, locked the door, and yelled at her.
Labeouf also infected Barnett with a sexually transmitted disease, according to the lawsuit.
Stylist Karen Pho, who also dated Labeouf, is also a plaintiff in the suit. She alleges that while drunk, he pinned her to a bed and head butted her until she bled.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” Labeouf told the New York Times in an email. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”
In a separate email, Labeouf said that many of the allegations are untrue. He included that he is “a sober member of a 12-step program” and is committed to his recovery.
According to the suit, many of the incidents took place while Barnett was working on her November 2019 album, Magdalene. The situation made her struggle to meet deadlines. “Twigs is always the driving force behind her career — always a step ahead of everyone else,” said her manager, Michael Stirton. “This was an extreme change in her personality and character … I could speak to her, but I couldn’t reach her.”
“The whole time I was with him, I could have bought myself a business-flight plane ticket back to my four-story townhouse in Hackney,” said Barnett. “He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible.”
if Barnett wins the suit, she plans to donate some of the damages to domestic violence causes. The case will be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court.