LaBeouf won the breakthrough screenwriter Hollywood Film Award for his work on his autobiographical film, Honey Boy, and he took the time to thank the police officer who arrested him in Savannah, Ga., in 2017 on charges of public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and obstruction.
“I want to thank the police officer who arrested me in Georgia for changing my life,” he said during his acceptance speech.
The 33-year-old actor, who is now sober, also thanked “my therapist and my sponsor for saving my life” and his parents “for giving me life.”
In March 2018, LeBeouf opened up about learning from his mistakes following his arrest in Savannah.
“What went on in Georgia was mortifying,” LaBeouf said in his cover story for Esquire’s April 2018 issue. “White privilege and desperation and disaster … It came from a place of self-centred delusion … It was me trying to absolve myself of guilt for getting arrested.
“I f–ked up.”
“I’m a buffoon,” LaBeouf told Esquire. “My public outbursts are failures. They’re not strategic. They’re a struggling motherf–ker showing his a– in front of the world.”
LaBeouf was in Savannah in July 2017 to film his upcoming movie, The Peanut Butter Falcon, when he was arrested. The actor was taken into police custody after allegedly resisting arrest and going on a racist, profanity-filled rant.
Footage of the incident was released online, showing him calling police officers “b—h” and “wh-re.” LaBeouf said one of the officers “especially” was going to hell “because he’s a black man.”
LaBeouf went on to say that he’s a “tax-paying American,” adding: “I have rights.”
He also said: “I’m an American. You’ve got me in my hotel, arresting me in my hotel, for doing what, sir? You really got these cuffs on me heavy, bro.”
During the incident, LaBeouf made reference to U.S. President Donald Trump.
“You got a president that don’t give a sh– about you, and you’re stuck in a police force that don’t give a f–k about you so you want to arrest white people who give a f–k, who ask for cigarettes?” LaBeouf told one of the officers.
He continued: “I came up trying to be nice, you stupid b—h. I came up to you asking for a cigarette, you dumb f–k. Why would I ask for a cigarette if I was racist? You stupid b—h. I was asking for a cigarette, you said ‘no.’ I said, ‘word.’ And then you arrested me, you dumb f–k.”
“They got cameras everywhere, you dummy. I got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with, you stupid b—h. I’m from it, you dummy!” LaBeouf said.
LaBeouf was charged with public drunkenness, which was later dropped, and disorderly conduct. He issued an apology after the footage of the incident was released, saying: “I am deeply ashamed of my behaviour and make no excuses for it.”
In October 2017, the actor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of obstruction and was placed on a one-year probation.
The former Even Stevens star said he was trying to “look at my failures in the face,” “take ownership of my s–t and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again.”
“I’ve been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life,” he said. “The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot.”
In a recent interview with MTV News, the Holes actor said writing Honey Boy saved his life and career.
“I was totally lost. And quite apathetic to my whole craft and my life. Really like bottom-barrel for me, which is what I needed. I wasn’t going to stop doing what I was doing until that happened to me,” LaBeouf said.
“I found my way to survive and be able to flourish,” he added. “I feel like my best stuff has come in the last five years, and none of that was studio work. I have a good group around me now. I am closer to my family than I ever have been before.”
LaBeouf plays a fictionalized version of his own father in Honey Boy, which will be released on Nov. 8.