When Megan Fox decided she didn’t want to play Transformers anymore—setting off a very public back-and-forth between her and director Michael Bay characterized by Fox calling Bay “Hitler” and his crew members responding, “Nuh-uh, you’re dumb”—many may have assumed that the whole thing boiled down to a simple schoolyard fight. Not so, says Shia LaBeouf, who believes that underneath the wars of words and huge-ass robots, there was a far deeper battle of the sexes going on.

“Megan developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment [stuff] that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael, who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women,” LaBeouf tells the L.A. Times, marking perhaps the first time in a decade that the Spice Girls have been used as a reference point for modern feminism. “Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality,” he continues, explaining, “It's summer. It's Michael's style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it. This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting it.”


More than just Fox’s resistance to being sexualized, however, she simply didn’t like the way Bay spoke to her: “"When Mike would ask her to do specific things, there was no time for fluffy talk,” LaBeouf adds. “We're on the run. And the one thing Mike lacks is tact. There's no time for [LaBeouf assumes a gentle voice] ‘I would like you to just arch your back 70 degrees.'" Fortunately for 16-year-olds and also the summer, Bay was able to replace Fox with Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who has no such feminist compunctions about assuming the appropriate angles to make his films a success.