Last month, Shia LaBeouf got into a verbal altercation with staffers at Pinz Bowling Alley and Jerry's Famous Deli in Los Angeles
Shia LaBeouf is being sued for defamation and assault in a $5 million lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles bartender, whom the actor reportedly called a “racist.”
According to court documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, on Apr. 5, LaBeouf, 30, — who was accompanied by wife Mia Goth — got into a verbal altercation with staffers at Jerry’s Famous Deli, after bartender David Bernstein refused to serve LaBeouf and Goth a drink, allegedly because they were already too intoxicated.
In a video obtained by TMZ and filmed by a bystander, LaBeouf can be heard screaming at Bernstein, calling him a “f—ing racist bitch.”
Over a month later, on Friday, Bernstein filed court documents at L.A. Superior Court suing LaBeouf for defamation, slander and assault, and seeking damages of $5 million, according to papers obtained by THR. However, LaBeouf’s lawyer denies that the incident constituted as defamation.
In the lawsuit, Bernstein accuses the Transformers star of being “significantly under the influence” while entering the area where employees and bartenders work and slamming his fist on the bar. “He yelled at plaintiff and appeared ready to physically confront him after plaintiff refused to serve him a drink because he appeared to be intoxicated,” Bernstein’s lawyer said, according to the documents obtained by THR. Claiming self-defense, Bernstein used a Grey Goose vodka bottle to deter the actor as he was “fearful of an imminent attack.”
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The altercation with LaBeouf “reflected an intention to commit imminent physical violence upon Mr. Bernstein,” who has “experienced significant emotional distress, anxiety and fear” since. The claim added that Bernstein has since been exposed to “significant embarrassment and ridicule” since video of the incident has been published and that Bernstein is now alluded to as “the racist bartender” by fans of the actor online.
LaBeouf’s attorney Brian Wolf tells PEOPLE that the lawsuit is “baseless” and that they would be seeking dismissal of the case.
“The recent lawsuit filed against Shia is baseless,” Wold said. “The statements attributed to Shia forming the basis of the action do not remotely constitute ‘defamation’. The case is little more than an effort to harass our client. We will vigorous defend and seek dismissal of this frivolous action and will seek recovery of all attorneys fees and costs from the plaintiff.”
The lawsuit also noted that Bernstein has worked at Jerry’s Famous Deli for 32 years and that he is a “beloved individual to his customers who are predominantly African-American.”
This comes months following LaBeouf’s January arrest in New York City during a protest against President Donald Trump after he allegedly attacked a 25-year-old man – and video of the entire incident was posted online. LaBeouf was charged with misdemeanor assault and a harassment violation.