Actor Shia LaBeouf presented the award for best live-action short with Zack Gottsagen, the first Oscar presenter with Down syndrome. The two worked together on the film Peanut Butter Falcon.
After it was revealed that the award went to The Neighbor's Widow, some people took to social media to call out LaBeouf for apparently laughing and looking “impatient” when Gottsagen began announcing the winner.
So disrespectful watching shia leboeuf laughing at / being impatient with a man with special needs on stage at the #Oscars— Cam Connolly (@c_conn96) February 10, 2020
shia LeBoeuf literally laughed at kid with special needs.. wtf— bella (@isabellahadidv) February 10, 2020
But the second the criticism started to pop up online, even more people barked back, stressing that the two actors are friends and LaBeouf wasn’t be disrespectful at all. Instead, people praised LaBeouf for the positive, impactful moment.
Lay off Shia LaBeouf. As the parent of a child with Down Syndrome I can tell you with certainty what you saw wasn’t impatience, it was caring concern. What you saw was someone who wanted so much for Zack to do well that you struggle between helping and stepping on their moment.— Steve Redmond (@sjredmond) February 10, 2020
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.— Will Tempfer (@wtempfer) February 10, 2020
Shia LaBeouf was up there with A FRIEND.— paige machado (@paigero13) February 10, 2020
He was patient and helpful when he needed to be.
People are mad for absolutely no reason.
“Cancel Culture” is stupid. Shia LaBeouf did great. pic.twitter.com/gczITFcM5d
HOLY SHIT leave shia labeouf alone zack gottsagen means a whole fucking lot to him and has done for the past 3 years he didnt do anything wrong on stage please stop making shit up i cant believe i even have to explain this #Oscars pic.twitter.com/7PdRJJHtWL— marty jabal al gharbi pitt (@labeuof) February 10, 2020
Gottsagen and LaBeouf received a standing ovation when they came out to present the award. The Peanut Butter Falcon is about a man with down syndrome who runs away from care home to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.