In a time when children with Down syndrome are literally being exterminated in parts of the world, actor Shia LaBeouf is now crediting one individual with Down syndrome with saving his life.
Speaking with the United Kingdom’s Cathy Newman of Channel 4, Shia LaBeouf expounded on how his relationship with Zack Gottsagen – an actor with Down syndrome who starred alongside the former “Transformers” actor in the critically-acclaimed “The Peanut Butter Falcon” – literally altered his destructive habits.
“I had never worked with an actor like him,” said LaBeouf, as reported by Live Action. “I’d never been involved in a project like this. It felt like it was going to be a really freeing experience, and to be quite frank, I was terrified. I knew that he’d be playing lead guitar, you know, and I’d be playing bass to him. If he went left, I’d have to go left. I’d never been in a situation where so much is dependent on staying open, and reacting, and listening to another performer. I’ve been quite selfish in my choices and my way of working before.”
“The kid in me died and I just got over all this,” he continued. “This roller coaster wasn’t fun after a while. You ride the same roller coaster, it just loses its appeal. Then you go on it with someone who hasn’t been on it before, and somehow, it sparks back up.”
LaBeouf recalled being arrested during filming for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct and how Gottsagen’s compassion and chastisement shook him out of his behavior.
“To hear him say that he was disappointed in me probably changed the course of my life,” LaBeouf said. “Cause I was still fighting. … Just on my defense-mechanism-fear garbage. And you can’t do that to him. He keeps it one thousand with you. … Zack can’t not shoot straight, and bless him for it ’cause in that moment, I needed a straight shooter who I couldn’t argue with.”
“The day after I got arrested, we were on a boat. I couldn’t really look at anybody in the eye,” he continued. “I was sitting next to him, and he put his hand on my shoulder, and like, nursed me back on a boat during the scene where we’re talking about the painful past. That stuff hurts; that stuff hurt to go through and to feel.”
Gottsagen recalled crying in the moment while resolving to give Shia a chance to recover. “I was sad. I cried,” he said. “But I’m still gonna take that chance for myself, to give Shia one chance to prove to himself never, never, never do this kind of stuff again.”
Europe has been leading the charge against babies with Down syndrome this past decade, signaling what the United States could possibly become if the abortion of such children becomes even more commonplace. In 2006, Denmark had just four babies born with Down syndrome. In Iceland, abortion of babies with Down syndrome has reached near 100%. France has gotten in on the race, too. Most recently, the country banned a television commercial featuring children with Down syndrome because it upset mothers who previously aborted their own children with Down syndrome.
As unborn children with Down syndrome are quickly being exterminated across the globe, some states have stepped up efforts to protect them – such as Ohio, which passed the Ohio Right to Life’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act in 2017.