Is Shia LaBeouf A “Bad Boy” Or Just Screwed Up?

If nothing else, the train wreck that is young “Indiana Jones” star Shia LaBeouf has been refreshing for its candor.

We, the public, are used to a celebrity-publicist-consumers trifecta that downplays, obfuscates and outright lies when it comes to their naughty behavior. Exhibit A: Britney. Exhibit B: Lindsay. Exhibit C: Chris Brown. Exhibit D: Paris. Exhibit E: Jeremy Piven. I could go on, but you get the point.

But 23-year-old Shia LaBeouf—not through a publicist, not through a stage parent demon from hell—has been straight up when talking to the press about his troubles. Most recently, he confessed to Parade that he is an alcoholic, that he sometimes feels his life is meaningless and his insecurity is a “God-sized hole.” Certainly, not every celebrity is required to open up about their personal lives this way, but we appreciated his honesty, rather than the same-old-same-old BS. Recently, Kim Masters at The Daily Beast spoke with Hollywood insiders about whether LeBeouf might want to put a cork in it. The Hollywood bigwigs Masters spoke with said he could use some “media training,” i.e. a lecture on discretion, but as long as the young actor shows up at work on time, they don’t care what he does after-hours.

But interestingly, one unnamed studio chief actually said he thinks the young actor just might be exaggerating his bad-ass lifestyle to look cool:

“Part of it is that rebellious youthful swagger. It’s appealing to his generation, his fanbase. To girls, that’s like, ‘Oh, he’s the bad boy.’ To guys, they’re like, ‘That looks cool.’”


I’m not a Shia LeBeouf-ologist, yet I don’t think he’s exaggerating for the girls at all. His f**ked-up-ness appears pretty sincere.

There was the time he was arrested for trespassing in a Chicago Walgreens and he later admitted he was “pretty messed up.” Then there was the car crash and DUI arrest. Then a YouTube video appeared of him engaging in a “slapfest” with a friend and calling the friend a f*ggot. Then there were all the weird, weird things he said about watching his parents have sex and how he thinks his mom is sexy.

That ain’t posturing; this ain’t a schtick. You just can’t make alllll this s**t up. But if he says and does all this stuff because he’s trying to look like a bad-ass, he’s backfiring. Actually, the fact that at least one studio chief thinks young people admire anything more than LeBeouf’s candor about his screw-ups is pretty insulting to our generation.

But it just goes to show how there can be a double standard for what behavior is appropriate for boys and what behavior is appropriate for girls. We read the same tabloid papers you do and the paps are NOT trailing Shia LeBeouf, just waiting for the next screwup, like they do with Lindsay or Britney. We point you towards Wendy McClure at Bust, who has written eloquently about how the public wrings our hands about how “out of control” these women have gotten.

We’re glad you ‘fess up to being a real person who makes stupid mistakes, Shia. But it’s still really annoying that the girls whose stiletto-ed footsteps you are following are tragic “girls in peril,” while you just get to be the “bad boy.”