Internet Trolls Shut Down Shia LaBeouf’s Anti-Trump Project in Liverpool
It was barely installed in the UK for two days.
He Will Not Divide Us, the controversial Trump protest project by Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Luke Turner, was moved to Liverpool’s Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) on Wednesday, March 22, following safety concerns in the US.
But barely two days later, it has already been taken down, apparently due to trespassing from internet trolls, who turned the project into a twisted game of capture the flag.
The project, originally a camera installed outside the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, was intended to livestream 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the duration of Trump’s presidency. Passersby were invited to look into the camera and recite the phrase “He will not divide us,” intended as a message of solidarity against the American president’s divisive statements.
It soon caught the attention of the worst of the internet’s trolling community and apparent right-wing extremists, leading to the museum taking down the livestream on February 10.
On February 18, the project was moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it attracted similar negative attention. Then, on March 8, an altered version of the project, a livestream of a white flag with the work’s title written in black, was briefly flown from an undisclosed location in the US.
On the subject of the move from the US to the UK, FACT explained in a March 21 article that, “Following escalating threats and criminal activity coordinated via online message boards 4chan and 8chan, which included the theft and defacement of the artwork by white supremacists, and a field at the location being set on fire, the artists have now been forced to site the project outside of the United States.”
But /pol/, a “Politically Incorrect” discussion board on 4chan, known for its association with the alt-right, has its tentacles in the UK as well, and has taken responsibility for trespassing on the FACT property and removing the flag, claiming on twitter that “No matter where Shia LaBeouf puts the HWNDU flag next, one of our own will get it again.”
FACT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.