On Sunday, Shia LaBeouf took to the red carpet at the Berlin Film Festival for the premiere of his new film Nymphomaniac, Volume I. The film's director Lars von Trier is known for his shocking movies, but LaBeouf's off-screen antics have been garnering the most press: He arrived on the red carpet wearing a brown paper bag over his head with the words "I am not famous anymore" painted on it.
The incident comes after weeks of LaBeouf displaying unusual behavior, such as tweeting the same phrase as was written on the bag over and over again.
Earlier on Sunday, LaBeouf gave just one mystifying answer at the Nymphomaniac press conference before storming out, leaving his co-stars looking shocked and confused. And on Saturday night, LaBeouf attacked three young men who were trying to get a picture of him in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin.
The media has been hounding LaBeouf since his odd behavior began in December, when he plagiarized a short film. Its treatment of LaBeouf has sadly become a common theme in celebrity news: Someone acts out inwhat seems to be a cry for help, but the media sensationalizes and ridicules the person in question. We saw this happen with Britney Spears' public meltdown in 2007, which was at least partially exacerbated by invasive paparazzi. Last year, we saw an even more disturbing reaction — a gleeful fascination— with Amanda Bynes.
Rather than leaving these clearly unstable celebrities alone, or hoping they get help, the media is consistently on the lookout for even crazier actions. Instead of recognizing unhealthy behavior for what it is, the media writes off strings of odd antics as nothing more than celebrities' desperate ploys for attention, referring to their behavior as "dumb" and "not a total surprise." The attention the media pays to these breakdowns almost encourages young stars to continue acting out.
After Sunday's red carpet moment, Uproxx claimed, with no apparent proof, that LaBeouf isn't on drugs or truly as off-kilter as he seems. "But even if he isn't those things," they wrote, "It's still a lot of fun to watch." This is the kind of dismissive attention that brings these young people to the brink, and we need to stop encouraging it.