Shia LaBeouf's legal team denies abuse claims by ex-girlfriend FKA twigs

Court filing ‘denies generally and specifically each and every allegation’ in the complaint made by the British musician in December

American actor Shia LaBeouf’s legal team has denied allegations of sexual battery and assault made by his former girlfriend, British musician FKA twigs, in a civil lawsuit last year.

LaBeouf’s attorney said in a court filing that the actor “denies generally and specifically each and every allegation” in the complaint.

The court document, filed on 5 February and made available to Reuters on Thursday, also states that the singer’s allegation of sexual battery was invalid “because none of the acts alleged were based on sex.”

The civil lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles superior court in December under her real name Tahliah Barnett, sought unspecified damages for alleged sexual battery, assault and emotional distress. Barnett also accused LaBeouf of emotional abuse during their year-long relationship in 2019.

The lawsuit states that in February 2019 Barnett was a passenger in a vehicle that LaBeouf was driving recklessly, and that he removed his seatbelt and threatened to crash unless she said she loved him. The pair had taken a trip to the desert outside Los Angeles, during which, Barnett alleged, LaBeouf once woke her up in the middle of the night by choking her.

LaBeouf, 34, a former child star, is currently undergoing unspecified in-patient treatment, according to a source close to the actor.

He had previously issued a general statement apologizing for hurting those around him and citing a history of alcoholism and aggression.

In an interview with the New York Times, Barnett, 32, characterised her experience with LaBeouf as “the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life” and said she wanted to raise awareness of “the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency”.

Responding to detailed allegations about his conduct, LaBeouf told the Times that “many of these allegations are not true” but that he owed Barnett and Karolyn Pho, another woman whose claims feature in the lawsuit, “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and [for me to] accept accountability for those things I have done”.

Barnett’s attorney said in a statement on Thursday that LaBeouf’s “legal tact and recovery plan, while not surprising, are poorly misguided self-help strategies.”

Guardian staff and agencies

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