Well, this is awkward: Shia LaBeouf posted a short film online yesterday after debuting it at Cannes last year, BuzzFeed noticed it seemed awfully similar to a 2007 Daniel Clowes comic ... and then LaBeouf apologized for the similarity, and BuzzFeed noticed that parts of his apology sounded awfully similar to a 4-year-old entry on Yahoo! Answers. The film, HowardCantour.com, stars Jim Gaffigan as an online film critic, and BuzzFeed calls it "almost a direct adaptation" of Clowes' Justin M. Damiano, though Clowes is not mentioned anywhere in the film, credits, or promotional materials. Clowes says he's never met LaBeouf and was "shocked" at the film's use of his words and images, adding, "I actually can't imagine what was going through his mind."
BuzzFeed has examples of words from the film that are exactly the same as words from the comic and says there are many more. Last night, LaBeouf tweeted an apology, and that's when things got really weird. Compare:
- LaBeouf's words: "Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work."
- Yahoo! Answers words by user Lili: "Merely copying isn’t particularly creative work, though it’s useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work."
LaBeouf went on to say, "In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation. Im embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration. ... I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. ... I f---ed up."