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JAN
8
9 MOS

Shia LaBeouf Taunts Daniel Clowes' Cease and Desist on Twitter

For a second time, LaBeouf says his next short film will be "Daniel Boring," which bears a similar title to the graphic novelist's own "David Boring."

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf is digging in.

Last month, LaBeouf landed in a rough patch after word surfaced that his short film HowardCantour.com contained scene-for-scene similarities as Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic from Daniel Clowes. LaBeouf apologized -- sort of -- but the mea culpa seemed cribbed from the Internet. Since then, LaBeouf has been digging his hole deeper and deeper with stunts like commissioning a skywritten apology and making faux apologies to the likes of Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift.

STORY: Hollywood's Top 10 Legal Disputes of 2013

Throughout this time, Clowes' attorney has been in communication with LaBeouf's. That was revealed late yesterday in a tweet made by LaBeouf. The actor provided a copy of a cease and desist letter sent by attorney Michael Kemp at Kinsella Weitzman. The letter describes LaBeouf as "seriously out of control” and adds, "We have been waiting since December 27 to hear how Mr. LaBeouf intends to make right, but all that has happened is further wrongful acts … and more foolishness such as Mr. LaBeouf's New Years' [sic] Day sky-writing frolic that exposed Mr. Clowes to further ridicule."

There are many ways to respond to a legal demand. Many adjust themselves accordingly, to use the famous C&D phrase. Others try to be funny. (See this letter to Starbucks for example.) Then, there's the strategy of taunting. One good example from the department of mockery comes from a response given to Kanye West after the hip-hop star's attorney sent a cease and desist on Monday over "Coinye West," a new cryptocurrency. The anonymous person behind "Coinye" basically responded by saying that an attempt at a restraining order would be useless. (Some legal observers largely agree.)

Back to LaBeouf.

At first, the actor appeared to adjust himself. Some of his tweets were taken down.

But then, on Wednesday morning, LaBeouf took out his shovel again. He not only reposted the cease and desist communication, but also redelivered a tweet that had triggered it: A photo of a storyboard for what LaBeouf said would be his next short -- "Daniel Boring," described as "Fassbinder meets half-baked Nabokov on Gilligan's Island."

As Kemp pointed out in his letter, "David Boring" is the title of a comic series and graphic novel by Clowes. "LaBeouf must immediately take down this tweet," the attorney demanded.

Instead, LaBeouf has now posted it twice, along with a rant about "now our stories are owned for profit." (See below.)

If history is any indication and for want of originality, LaBeouf might apologize again. His performance art -- or whatever the hell he's doing -- might necessitate more provocation. The silly brinksmanship is also approaching an actual lawsuit. If that's not his design, he has a funny way of showing it.