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Museum Shuts Down Shia LaBeouf's Anti-Trump Livestream Over Safety Concerns

By Jeanmarie Evelly | February 10, 2017 11:03am | Updated on February 13, 2017 8:11am
 Actors Jaden Smith and Shia LaBeouf before an inauguration day  art installation in Astoria that asks participants to speak into a camera and say
Actors Jaden Smith and Shia LaBeouf before an inauguration day art installation in Astoria that asks participants to speak into a camera and say "he will not divide us."
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — The Museum of the Moving Image shut down Shia LaBeouf's anti-Trump installation on Friday — saying the project had turned into an "ongoing public safety hazard" after the actor was arrested for assault there last month amid several threats of violence, including against police, authorities said.

The project, staged by LaBeouf's art collective LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, consisted of a camera mounted to a wall outside the museum on 35th Avenue, where participants were invited to say the words "He Will Not Divide Us" into the lens.

The camera fed to a website that was intended to stream live, 24 hours a day, for the remainder of President Trump's term.

But museum officials say the site "had become a flashpoint for violence" shortly after its launch on Inauguration Day.

LaBeouf was arrested outside the museum on Jan. 26 after shoving and grabbing the scarf of a 25-year-old man, according to police. A video circulated on social media that showed LaBeouf shoving a man who spoke favorably about Hitler.

LaBeouf outside the Museum of the Moving Image minutes before he was arrested. 

"While the installation began constructively, it deteriorated markedly after one of the artists was arrested on the site of the installation and ultimately necessitated this action," the museum said in a statement.

"Over the course of the installation, there have been dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests, such that police felt compelled to be stationed outside the installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The museum didn't specify how many arrests were made or what they were for, but the 114th Precinct's commanding officer said there had been a number of incidents at the site during the installation’s four-week run.

These included several phony bomb threats as well as calls from people who threatened to shoot police officers stationed there, according to precinct Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune.

One person was arrested for reckless endangerment for throwing eggs at the crowd outside the installation, and three others were issued disorderly conduct summonses for fighting, he noted.

Neighbors also complained about noise at the site and visitors urinating nearby, Fortune said.

LaBeouf's collaborators on the project, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, did not immediately return emails seeking comment about its closure.

But the actor made his feelings clear on Twitter Friday morning.