Actor Shia LaBeouf has no love for “The Donald,” he’s made that much clear with his anti-Trump livestream performance art protest, a.k.a., “He Will Not Divide Us.” The participatory performance art piece launched, with the help of second-generation celebrity royalty Jaden Smith, just as Trump was being sworn in on January 21. The premise? A 24/7 livestream recorded outside the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC, where random participants chanted (and sang and yelled) “He Will Not Divide Us” as many times as they needed to to get it off their chests.
— Kit-Kat (@Nicolie_Olie_) February 19, 2017
Jaden Smith got the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump performance art protest started by repeating (and chanting and singing) the words “He Will Not Divide Us” for hours.
On the project website, where the livestream could be viewed by curious activists, likeminded anti-Trumeprs and those simply curious in the Shia LaBeouf efforts, it was promised by Shia and his co-artists (Rönkkö & Luke Turner) that the anti-Trump livestream would be streaming for the next four years. Or, the duration of the Trump presidency. Whichever came first.
Unfortunately for Shia, the openness of the anti-Trump livestream didn’t always work in his favor. The controversial participatory performance art piece got a ton of media attention, and it soon became inundated by Trump supporters and neo-Nazis. At the end of January, the notoriously hot-headed Shia LaBeouf found himself in hot water after getting into an on-camera altercation one such self-proclaimed neo-Nazi. Shia was arrested for misdemeanor assault and harassment after he allegedly yanked on a scarf belonging to an anti-Trump protester.
It was widely speculated that the neo-Nazi activities at the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump performance art piece had been organized on alt-right online message boards to deliberately provoke and antagonize LaBeouf, who is Jewish.
Just days later, Shia LaBeouf found that the plug had been pulled on the anti-Trump protest livestream. He took his anger to the #HeWillNotDivideUs website, lamenting that the “Museum of the Moving Image abandoned the project” on February 10, and promising to bring the anti-Trump livestream back.
— Variety (@Variety) February 23, 2017
(According to the museum, Shia and his arrest had been the last straw in the midst of an increasingly violent and volatile situation.)
“Over the course of the installation, there have been dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests, such that police felt compelled to be stationed outside the installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Fast forward just a little over a week. On February 18, Shia LaBeouf touted the return of the anti-Trump stream. With a message reading,”On February 18, 2017, the project relocated to a wall outside the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque,” fans of the anti-Trump artwork once again had a front-row seat to LaBeouf and his anti-Trump efforts.
The success would be short-lived.
@thecampaignbook incredible that something intended to unify could have an adverse effect, try not to blame yourself Shia. I mean that.
— Jesse Rintoul (@JesseRintoul) February 23, 2017
@indiancountry sending you love. If there's something else we can send, let us know.
— Jesse Springer (@jessespringer) February 25, 2017
I like Shia LaBeouf because he dances in a SIA video *and* he punches Nazis. And I believe modern men should be comfortable doing both.
— Cathy de la Cruz (@SadDiego) February 25, 2017
So according to Shia LaBeouf, Obama dividing this country like he did is completely okay? Racism is a way bigger issue now since Obama adm.
— Hester Wilkstrom (@HwilkyHester) February 20, 2017
— scarlett (@scarlettgoneraw) February 23, 2017
Unfortunately for Shia, despite his “He Will Not Divide Us” mantra, it appears that there is some division among Americans with regard to the anti-Trump protest. Just days into its relocation to the West, Shia LaBeouf took to Twitter to announce that violence had doomed another anti-Trump livestream location.
We have taken the stream down after shots were reported in the area. The safety of everybody participating in our project is paramount.
— Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) February 23, 2017
As USA Today reports, the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump performance art livestream was shut down once more on February 23. This time around, Shia himself shut the stream down, citing reports of gunshots. It is unknown if the gunshots happened on camera or how close to the stream the alleged shooting may have taken place. Either way, Shia apparently decided to pull the plug.
“We have taken the stream down after shots were reported in the area. The safety of everybody participating in our project is paramount.”
— HeWillNotDivideUs (@HeWillNotBOT) February 24, 2017
USA Today claims that it has contacted local law enforcement to confirm the gunshots, but so far no further details have been forthcoming.
Despite being in Albuquerque for just a few short days before being cut off, the Shia LaBeouf anti-Trump protests had already been having problems before Shia shut it down. At the beginning of the “He Will Not Divide Us” project’s one and only week in New Mexico, somebody spray painted the camera (or at least its protective covering) with pink spray paint and the words, “Reject False Idols. Do it!”
Police were called out to the location, an investigation into the vandalism was launched, and the anti-Trump protest was quickly back up and running.
However, the stream didn’t last long, with Shia himself putting an end to it after someone cited gunshots close by.
At this point, it is unknown whether or not the “He Will Not Divide Us” project is dead for good, or if it just suffered another setback. Shia LaBeouf has yet to update his anti-Trump livestream website with any further details beyond his Thursday Twitter announcement.
[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]