People are calling out Shia LaBeouf for 'laughing at' his co-star with Down's Syndrome

People are calling out Shia LaBeouf for 'laughing at' his co-star with Down's Syndrome

At last night's 92nd annual Academy Awards, the Oscar for the 'Best Live-Action Short' was presented by Shia LaBeouf and his Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Zack Gottsagen, who has Down's Syndrome. Now, the actor is being called out after appearing to laugh at Gottasgen.

The moment came when Gottasgen, 34, stumbled on his lines and LaBeouf, 33, broke into a smile, causing people on social media to question if LeBeouf was becoming impatient with his co-star or if he was just trying to ease the moment.

This is the moment LaBeouf was accused of mocking Gottasgen: 

Now, in case you've yet to see the movie, Peanut Butter Falcon centers around a man with Down's Syndrome, played by Gottasgen, who, with the help of a friend (LaBeouf), attempts to pursue his dream of being a wrestler.

One person who thought LaBeouf was being malicious wrote: "shia LeBoeuf literally laughed at kid with special needs.. wtf."

Another simply wrote: "Ok Shia LeBoeuf is canceled."

A third wrote: "Did Shia Leboeuf just laugh at the Down syndrome man on stage ... on live television??????????"

However, some people did jump to LaBeouf's defense, arguing that the alleged mocking was nothing more than a reflection of the two men's friendship, the intricacies of which are not known.

In all previous interviews, the two men have praised each other profusely, having struck up a strong bond on the set of Peanut Putter Falcon, with LaBeouf telling one interviewer that his co-star "changed his life".

"People are rippin [on] Shia LaBeouf and don't even know the story between him and Zack lol. Nooo he wasn't being impatient or rude. He was being a friend and making way for Zack to be autonomous #Oscars," wrote one Twitter user.  

Another wrote: "90% of twitter right now has never heard of The Peanut Butter Falcon and doesn't know about the sweet friendship between Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen. Direct your misguided judgement somewhere else."

Meanwhile, a third said: "Shia was so just good with his costar Zack Gottsagen. He didn't jump in too quickly to help him. He trusted Zack, waited for him to gather himself, and let [him] do it on his own. #Oscars."

Gottsagen's role at last night's ceremony was a historic moment for people with Down's Syndrome as it is the first time that a person with the condition has hosted a major awards ceremony.

As per the New York Post, The Ruderman Family Foundation, a disability rights organization, said of Gottsagen's work at the 2020 Oscars: 

"For nearly a century, disability has been glaringly left out of the conversation on diversity in Hollywood. Tonight's award presentation marks a substantive step forward for both the Academy and the entertainment industry as a whole.

"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."