The Hollyweird Legal Round-Up is our weekly guide to the latest entertainment lawsuits and lawyerly pud-slinging, broken down for you in even MORE esoteric jargon by our legal correspondent, real-life entertainment lawyer “Buttockus Finch.” (Probably not his real name). This week, he takes on Shia Labeouf’s possible involvement in a pump-and-dump scheme and more.
Welcome to the future, time travelers!
1. God creates a story specifically for this site.
I know what you’ve all been thinking: is there a way we could start off 2014 with a story that combines all the Filmdrunk obsessions? Well feliz año nuevo, eses and esettes, because that is what we’ve got here:
“Seth Rogen and Patton Oswalt Mock Shia LaBeouf’s Seemingly Endless Twitter Apologies”
The piece is from E!, so Y? read it, you ask? No need–the headline sums things up adequately, and the more important takeaway is Oswalt’s link to this, a story from 2011 that has aged to perfection. It involves our boy LaBe profiting from somebody else’s idea; Wolf of Wall Street-esque hyping of crappy stocks; Method actor preparation for Wall Street F*cking 2: Money Never Sleeps; insight from a former 80’s securities fraud convict; AND a tweet by Mancini role model Patton Oswalt. If Channing Tatum stopped by in the last paragraph and spoke in a Jason Statham accent, this site would singularityify and implode.
“Shia LaBeouf trained at John Thomas Financial to study for his role . . . [he] claimed that he turned an initial investment of $20,000 into $489,000 by trading various securities.”
First and foremost, the fact that Shi’ite worked for a firm named John Thomas is an embarrassment of riches all by itself. Second, my guess is that our boy couldn’t turn $20,000 into a Happy Meal and a new pair of Keds, much less a massive profit.
“LaBeouf, in the April  issue of GQ talked up the stock of an oil and natural gas exploration company that has yet to produce any of either. ‘[The company's] momentum is major, and it will surprise to the upside,’ LaBeouf said in a text message to the GQ article’s author.”
The stock, IOC, was at $67 when GQ printed this Shiarrhea in 2010; by 2011 it was in the mid-$40’s, where it remains. Anybody who took Shia’s advice got a surprise to the backside, but then, anybody who would take financial advice from him is dumb enough to purchase a C*ckpunching Robot. “It looks cool, but what does it OUCH SO MUCH PAIN.” Encouraging people to buy stock in crappy companies is the kind of skullduggerish sh*t that got Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in trouble in WOWS.
A lot of the fun here comes at the end of the article, when writer Sam Antar provides the following “Disclosure”:
“I am a convicted felon and former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped my cousin Eddie Antar and other members of his family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980’s.”
So let’s review: a securities frauder wrote an article about an actor preparing to play a securities frauder, in a movie decrying securities fraud, and the actor studied at the feet of a possible securities frauder and subsequently maybe helped him commit securities fraud. 2014: the year I went heavy meta.
What message are we sending?
Antar at least shows some self-awareness. “I plan on frying in hell with other white-collar criminals for a very long time.” Which is all we want to hear, really. He says he consults with law enforcement now in order to help them detect financial crimes, sort of like at the end of Catch Me If You Can when the FBI hires Leonardo DiCa–damn, this circular sh*t is tripping me out.
2. God hires your favorite lawyer.
I wouldn’t ordinarily write a second story about LaBeouf, but commenter Underball has been very vocal in his criticism of this site for failing to document Shia’s misdeeds. Give the people what they want, I say. So pull out your beer bongs and get ready to funnel some Shia Sauce:
“Authorship is censorship
Should God sue me if I paint a river?”
Let me back up–this is the part where an ordinary hack would say “Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that LaBeouf has been” whatever, but I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that there are some enviable, nonsubterranean lifestyles that might include ignorance of LaBe’s recent activities. Briefly: it was discovered that a short film he made flagrantly plagiarized the work of writer Daniel Clowes, and his subsequent non-apology apologies showed his contempt for the idea that other people’s work isn’t his for the taking, to the point of plagiarizing the apologies themselves. I’m personally looking forward to his inevitable attempt to appropriate the work of a Subway sandwich artist, because people with real jobs are wont to settle disputes in immediate and satisfying ways.
But regarding the quote above, Shia threw out a pretty interesting idea. God liked it, and He hired me to file a complaint (I thought the call was a prank at first, but then I’m like, “Five bars? In the canyons? On AT&T? Please continue, Lord.”). I probably shouldn’t do this, but since I have cultivated such a sophisticated and discreet readership, let me go ahead and give you this taste of the Yahweh v. LaBeouf (C.D. Cal. 2014) deposition transcript:
Dead tree media still has its occasional uses. Last Tuesday, I cleared actress Zhang Ziyi’s name after she was falsely accused of charging exorbitant fees for Mandarintimacy (other actresses who are not Chinese prostitutes include: MILEY CYRUS TWERKING, KATE UPTON APPLYING A VARIETY OF LOTIONS AND OILS, EVERY WOMAN WHO DID FULL FRONTAL IN WOLF OF WALL STREET and WHICHEVER MODEL DICAPRIO IS CURRENTLY SCHTUPPING). The next day, the New York Times ran a story about the harrowing legal status of sex workers in China. Coincidence? Yes, pretty much the definition of coincidence, and yet here we are.
The Times article is surprising in the same way that 12 Years a Slave is–I don’t want to be in bondage in 1840’s Louisiana or 2014 China? Glad you cleared confirmed my suspicions; I really need to thank my guidance counselor. But there are a few interesting details in the piece.
“The last time she was hauled into the local station house, [the prostitute being interviewed] was sent without trial or legal representation to a detention center”
That sound you hear is the deafening silence of 1.35 billion Chinese folks not complaining about there being “too many lawyers.” My peeps in China dream about having a plethora of undergrads take the LSAT.
“in neighboring Hebei Province,”
I’ll assume that means something innocuous in Mandarin, but “Hebei” is borderline offensive over here. You watch yourself, China.
“where she spent six months”
Oof. Hard labor? I’m guessing hard labor.
“making ornamental paper flowers and reciting the regulations that criminalize prostitution.”
OK, I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t see that coming. If you’re keeping score, Chinese sex worker prison: not as physically demanding as antebellum slavery, but the songs are considerably worse.
To make a long story pointless, you can see reason 1,000,001 why Zhang Ziyi objected to being accused of prostitution–as bad a job as it is anywhere else, the Chinese thought they needed to add random imprisonment to make it that much less appealing, and Double Z had no interest in forced origami (Japanese term, art itself has a long history in China. I checked). Feel free to read the rest of the Times article if you’re feeling insufficiently morose, but I will leave you with this Asian euphemism for brothel:
“Today, Chinese cities are full of ‘hair salons’ with curtained-off back rooms and no visible scissors.”
The New York Times thinks it’s cool to mention “visible scissors” in a sex story. Old Gray Lady, you a freak.
Watch more knowledge drop on Twitter: @buttockus