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Jensen Karp apologizes to Shia LaBeouf for 2014 stunt mocking his performance art

Photo: Jensen Karp (Twitter)

Today, Shia LaBeouf appeared on Los Angeles’ Kevin & Bean radio show as part of efforts to promote his Slauson Rec Theatre Company, a free theatre school open to anyone. During that appearance, co-host and writer Jensen Karp took the opportunity to apologize for a stunt he pulled in 2014, one that went to great lengths to pile on LaBeouf’s then-widely-mocked “IAMSORRY” art exhibit.

That exhibit famously featured LaBeouf wearing a bag on his head that read, “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE,” while visitors could basically say or do anything they wanted to him. Karp took the opportunity to book the space next door to LaBeouf’s and put on his own parodic exhibition with actor Jerry O’Connell. Karp said he has decided since then that he took the bit too far.

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“Watching Shia’s artistic and altruistic endeavors over the years, I have felt awful about this stunt, noticing his growth and importance as a creator,” he wrote on Twitter following the interview. “Today, we had him on @kroq’s @kevinandbean and I wanted to apologize.”

Karp continued, “The dude has been through a ton, all in front of the world since he was a kid—and he’s been doing interesting stuff his whole life. I was the idiot incapable of applauding earnestness. I got to say I was sorry today (yes, I see the irony). He accepted and admitted how hurt he was by my joke. We thanked each other, knowing that the stupid prank helped us both grow to what we are today. He said it was all worth it for this particular moment today, and I agree.”

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No doubt many would still agree with Karp’s original assessment of LaBeouf’s work, and it should be said that talent and pure intentions don’t preclude an artist from being the subject of parody or criticism. But, hey, it’s still never a bad thing to acknowledge that others have feelings and it’s healthy to try and reconcile with those feelings when you have the chance.

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LaBeouf, meanwhile, has suffered his share of bad headlines beyond his performance art. He’s been accused repeatedly of plagiarism and of plagiarizing his apologies for that plagiarism. He got into a troubling public fight with his then-girlfriend Mia Goth. He apologized for saying racist stuff to some cops who were arresting him. In the past couple years, though, he’s made efforts to improve his public image and remind people of his genuine talents as an actor—he’s wonderful in the upcoming The Peanut Butter Falcon, for example. LaBeouf has said that working on that film and bonding with co-star Zack Gottsagen helped him climb out of a particularly dark period in his life.

Listen to the full interview below.

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About the author

Gabe Worgaftik

Contributor, The A.V. Club.