After a report The New York Times published on Friday detailing a lawsuit the performer FKA twigs filed against the actor Shia LaBeouf, accusing him of sexual battery, assault and inflicting emotional distress, the reaction on social media was enormous and swift. The topic, trending on Twitter, became the subject of conversation among women who said they had also been abused by a partner.
The 32-year-old singer and actress, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, spoke to The Times, saying that she had chosen to come forward to explain how someone so well-known, with money and a strong support network, could be caught in a cycle of abuse. Karolyn Pho, another former girlfriend of Mr. LaBeouf, described similar experiences to The Times.
In an email, Mr. LaBeouf wrote that many of the allegations that the women raised were not true. He broadly addressed his behavior in an email. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years,” he told The Times.
“I hope that by sharing my experience I can truly help others feel like they are not alone and shed some light on how those who are worried somebody they care about may be in an abusive relationship can help because I understand it can be confusing and hard to know what to do,” she wrote in the thread.
Readers responded to her account by sharing their own stories, as well as expressing support for Ms. Barnett and her decision to speak out. Among those weighing in were Angelica Jade Bastién, a critic at Vulture, who wrote that she had witnessed and experienced abuse, and Karen Attiah, the global opinions editor for The Washington Post, who posted about leaving an abusive relationship.
On Saturday night, the Australian singer-songwriter Sia also shared her support for Ms. Barnett, posting on Twitter that she had been “hurt emotionally” by Mr. LaBeouf. A representative for Mr. LaBeouf did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding that accusation.
During her relationship with Mr. LaBeouf, Ms. Barnett was finishing her album “Magdalene,” which was ultimately released in November 2019 after several delays. Gary Suarez, a freelance journalist and music critic, wrote that the album “was already such a powerful and emotionally potent listening experience,” before he learned what Ms. Barnett had been through while working on the album.
Others also pointed to Ms. Barnett’s descriptions of isolation. “Abusers steal their victims’ freedom through tactics of coercive control,” Myriam Gurba, a writer and artist, posted on Twitter. Ayesha A. Siddiqi, a trends forecaster and writer, noted that isolation occurs outside the relationship, as well.