I finally forced myself to watch David Ayer‘s The Tax Collector…yeesh. Not by any stretch a career highlight for Ayer, whose best effort as a director-writer so far has been Fury, which I didn’t even care for all that much. Mostly an ultra-violent wallow, like everyone has said. What a hellish realm. Hit me over the head with a shovel.

But I didn’t mind Shia LaBeouf‘s “racist” performance as Creeper, a psychopathic collection guy working for Jimmy Smits‘ crime lord, “Wizard.” At the very least he’s delivering with a certain impudent energy mixed with a willingness to die on the spot.

We all understand the rule about white guys not being allowed to portray POCs and cisgenders not being allowed to play trans folk, but there’s a part of me that admires the “fuck you” attitude that Ayer and LaBeouf obviously embraced in creating this particular “Creeper.”

I think any actor should be allowed to portray any character of whatever ethnic stripe. It all boils down to “can you sell it…can you be it…do you have the bravery and conviction?”

In other words, I was kidding when I wrote the headline for this post. I was pretending to be a wokester asshole.

Five or six days ago Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn accused LaBeouf of giving “a cartoonish and culturally insensitive performance” that amounted to “a two-bit Latino burlesque.”

Last month Ayer said on Twitter that LaBeouf wasn’t delivering a “brownface” parody but playing “a white character who is influenced by latinx culture. Which is a really important answer. Shia is playing a whiteboy who grew up in the hood. This is a Jewish dude playing a white character. Also the only white dude in the movie”.

But again, the idea of LaBeouf tattooing his entire chest and stomach area for this role….what an asinine thing to do! What a way of spitting upon your God-given biological temple.