Did Shia LaBeouf Punch an Oxford Art Student in the Face?

"I don’t want to punch you very hard," he told the student.

Shia LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. Photo: still from YouTube.

Shia LaBeouf spent part of the weekend trapped in an elevator at the Oxford Union debate society as part of a performance connected to a talk he and his collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner gave at the university on the evening of February 19. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, things got a little hairy: an Oxford student and fellow performance artist asked LaBeouf to punch him in the face, and he (maybe) followed through.

It’s unclear from the live stream video whether or not the punch actually happened (Page Six is reporting that it did, Huffington Post is calling it a slap), but the following exchange, followed by a punch-like noise, is audible:

Student: “I’m a performance artist. Can you help me with completion of my next piece by punching me in the face?”

LaBeouf: “Oh man, you want me to punch you in the face? [laughs]

Student: “I’ll take my hat off, you can wear it, and you can punch me in the face.”

LaBeouf: “I don’t want to punch you very hard.”

Student: “OK, that’s fine. Do it!”

The student then proceeds to taunt LaBeouf and call him a “pussy,” saying, “alright a slap then, at least.” The actor protests, saying, “I don’t like doing it, though; I’ll do it to myself, but I don’t like doing it to you, dude.” The student eggs him on: “Do it, yeah!” and then a slap is heard. A few seconds later, the doors open, and the packed elevator reveals LaBeouf in the corner, with people laughing around him.

What else happened during LaBeouf and company’s elevator residency? According to their Oxford Union talk (they spent the 24 hours immediately before and after in the elevator), “one guy pulled his dick out” and “some people ordered us pizza.”

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.
Article topics