Shia LaBeouf issued a lengthy apology Tuesday after being accused of plagiarism, but now it looks as though his apology was plagiarized, too.
The episode began Monday when LaBeouf made "HowardCantour.com," a 12-minute short film he directed, available for viewing online. The movie, starring Jim Gaffigan as an embittered film critic, was initially well-reviewed as "entertaining" and "impressive" by a handful of websites. Then came reports that it resembled a 2007 story by the well-known comic-book artist Daniel Clowes.
The websites BuzzFeed and Wired noted that the plots were similar, while the movie's narration sometimes followed Clowes' text word for word. BuzzFeed quoted Clowes complaining that LaBeouf "took the script and even many of the visuals from a very personal story I did" and then "passed it off as his own work."
LaBeouf reacted quickly. In a string of wee-hour Twitter posts Tuesday morning, he apologized for not properly crediting Clowes. "Copying isn't particularly creative work," LaBeouf tweeted. "Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work."
Several publications, however, discovered that even LaBeouf's apology is a virtually verbatim copy -- including the capitalized word "IS" -- of a four-year-old post easily found on Yahoo Answers. It was posted by a user called Lili in response to the question, "Why did Picasso say that 'good artists copy but great artists steal?' "
LaBeouf has been through this before. Earlier this year he wrote several personal, heartfelt emails to Alec Baldwin, explaining his abrupt exit from their stage play "Orphans," then posted them via Twitter. They turned out to contain passages from a 2009 article in Esquire magazine.