Shia LaBeouf is getting the last laugh at haters who accused him of snickering at Zach Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, at Oscars 2020.
While announcing the award for Best Live Action Short on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, LaBeouf, 33, appeared to deviate from his lines to let out a laugh. Many on Twitter interpreted the giggle to be maliciously directed at his “The Peanut Butter Falcon” co-star, Gottsagen, 34.
But Gottsagen’s own mother has come to the “Transformers” star’s defense.
“Shia is just wonderful, you know? We really love him. If anything, I think they were grinning because it was hard to get the envelope open,” Shelley Gottsagen, 64, tells TooFab. “Their friendship is really, really beautiful … It upset me when I thought that somebody was thinking that Shia could have ever had a kind of negative attitude ’cause he’s been nothing, nothing, nothing but supportive.”
The pair became “tight” while filming the movie about a man who runs away from a North Carolina care facility, Gottsagen says.
“They love each other [and] really encourage each other,” she says, “Shia’s been very supportive of Zack as an actor, his professionalism. [He] did a lot with promoting the movie, you know, which, Shia always doesn’t — that’s not really his thing, but he did it for Zack.”
LaBeouf’s “Honey Boy” director, Alma Har’el, 44, also came to the actor’s defense, pointing out that he had only agreed to present the award if Gottsagen could co-present with him.
Gottsagen made history as the first person with Down syndrome to present at the Oscars, according to Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a disability rights organization.
“For nearly a century, disability has been glaringly left out of the conversation on diversity in Hollywood, [so this] award presentation marks a substantive step forward for both the Academy and the entertainment industry as a whole,” Ruderman said in a statement. “It is our sincere hope that this milestone serves as a springboard for greater inclusion in Hollywood, including through increased authentic casting of actors with disabilities in disability-based roles, and able-bodied based roles.”
The Post has reached out to LaBeouf for comment.
While filming “The Peanut Butter Falcon” in 2017, LaBeouf was arrested for public drunkenness. He reportedly used some of his time in court-ordered rehab to write the semi-autobiographical script for the acclaimed “Honey Boy.”