On Inauguration Day, actor Shia LaBeouf turned his anti-Trump sentiments in a work of art. Performance art, that is. LaBeouf called his project “He Will Not Divide Us,” and it consisted of a 24/7 livestream of the Shia, fellow entertainers (including Will Smith’s activist son, Jaden Smith, who took the first turn chanting and singing the phrase “he will not divide us” for hours) peacefully Trump-bashing by repeating the mantra over and over. Shia LaBeouf said he would stream the protest art, airing from outside the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, for the next four years, or the “duration of the presidency.”
— Complex (@Complex) February 10, 2017
Or at least that was the plan. It didn’t take long for the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump performance art to start going south, according to the New York Times. The anti-Trump protest effort was open to the public, one and all, and it didn’t take long for those not on board with the project (including self-proclaimed neo-Nazis) to hijack the performance piece.
Shia LaBeouf didn’t take the interference with the tone of art project very kindly. Because the “He Will Not Divide Us” project was streamed live from its inception, the public got a front-row seat to project participants who were not anti-Trump, and who had much more to say than the intended mantra. On January 26, Shia LaBeouf’s anger got the best of him, and the public also got a front-row seat to the 30-year-old Holes actor’s arrest. The performance artist and movie star was led away in handcuffs by the NYPD after allegedly assaulting a man proclaiming Nazi views. While he was released just hours later, the incident garnered a lot of public attention.
Unfortunately, the arrest of Shia LaBeouf wasn’t the only incident of an altercation at the anti-Trump performance art piece. Following LaBeouf’s arrest, however, the Museum of the Moving Image claims that it dealt with “dozens” of threats. The venue also stated that Shia LaBeouf was not the only person arrested in connection with the anti-Trump protest. Ultimately, the museum made the decision to shut down the “He Will Not Divide Us” exhibit.
In an official statement released to the press, the site had become a “flash point for violence.”
“The installation had become a flash point for violence and was disrupted from its original intent.”
— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) February 10, 2017
After the project was shut down by the museum (not the artists), the “He Will Not Divide Us” website was updated with a message that apparently reflected the artists’ anger and disappointment. Previously, the website featured the livestream of the Shia LaBeouf “He Will Not Divide Us” anti-Trump protest, as well as brief description of the purpose of the project.
Now, in the place of the livestream is a concise message.
“THE MUSEUM HAS ABANDONED US”
— Kinneas (@Kinneas) February 10, 2017
— Laura (@LauraGrayMane) February 10, 2017
@LisaDaftari The only violence I've seen was from Shia. The last few days there's been nothing but snow and parked cars on the stream.
— Truth (@ItsoesProds) February 10, 2017
@CNN I doubt Trump can do basic addition, let alone division…
— Ben Dover (@RtScourge) February 10, 2017
At the bottom of the page, following the description of the performance art piece, there is another message.
“On February 10, 2017, the Museum of the Moving Image abandoned the project.
The artists, however, have not.”
Despite proclaiming that the artists have not abandoned the project, the website doesn’t explain whether Shia LaBeouf has plans to revamp his anti-Trump performance art protest at a new venue, let alone when or where that might happen.
As Salon reports, in the days following the arrest of Shia LaBeouf, the Museum of the Moving Image site was inundated by neo-Nazis who “began descending onto the museum.”
A photo posted by Shia LaBeouf (@shialabeoufdaily) on
On February 5, a large group of so-called “white supremacists” took over the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump exhibit. The men showed up shirtless and inexplicably drinking cartons of milk. They chanted “Kill Bill Gates,” gave shout-outs to controversial alt-right radio shows and caused a loud scene in the wee hours of the morning.
“[The livestream has become a] serious and ongoing public safety hazard…”
Things got so boisterous that police had to intervene and do some crowd control, evicting the unwanted invaderw who had taken over the “He Will Not Divide Us” livestream. Reportedly, the disturbing incident at the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump protest site was the last straw for the concerned museum, who pulled the plug on the project just days later.
[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Images]