Shia LaBeouf admits last year's arrest reflected 'white privilege and desperation and disaster'

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Shia LaBeouf is taking responsibility for his July 2017 arrest and the headline-making behaviour around it, in the March 2018 issue of Esquire.

“What went on in Georgia was mortifying. White privilege and desperation and disaster," the 31-year-old actor says in the mag's cover story. "It came from a place of self-centered delusion … It was me trying to absolve myself of guilt for getting arrested.”

In short, he says, “I f*cked up.”

LaBeouf was arrested in Savannah, Ga. in July and charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, after trying to bum a cigarette from two pedestrians -- one of whom was a cop. His escalating tantrum was caught on film, and later released to TMZ, showing LaBeouf bragging about his "millionaire lawyers," belittling a black police officer for being "stuck in a police force that doesn't give a f*ck about you" and spouting off countless crude names to multiple officers.

While the public drunkenness charge was later dropped, the actor pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction in October. He also released a statement apologizing for the "new low" he had reached.

“My public outbursts are failures. They’re not strategic," he tells Esquire. "They’re a struggling motherf*cker showing his ass in front of the world.”

He says he's now focused on looking at his failures "in the face for a while" and he recognizes the need to "take ownership of my own sh*t and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again."

Currently promoting Borg/McEnroe, LaBeouf was shooting an upcoming film called The Peanut Butter Falcon at the time of his arrest. And he says it was the reaction of the film's star, 31-year-old Zachary Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, that inspired him to reevaluate his behaviour.

“To hear him say that he was disappointed in me probably changed the course of my life,” LaBeouf says. “’Cause I was still fighting. I was still on my ‘Look how fast they released the videos! They don’t release these!’ Just on my defense-mechanism-fear garbage. And you can’t do that to him. He keeps it one thousand with you, and that sh*it doesn’t even make sense to him. 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.”

Read more of Shia LaBeouf's Esquire cover story