“He Will Not Divide Us,” the four-year live stream spearheaded by Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner, and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, has encountered trouble within its first week. Neo-Nazis and Trump supporters have attempted to disrupt the participatory performance, located outside of New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, by shouting Nazi slogans into the always-on camera. LaBeouf himself was arrested and released following an altercation at the live stream. While it’s unclear which altercation that might be, multiple videos have appeared online of participants provoking LaBeouf by praising Adolf Hitler and shouting Nazi slogans.
In response to these incidents, which The Museum of the Moving Image calls hate speech, the institution will be working with police to observe the exhibit. “As an institution devoted to inclusion and diversity, and as a site for everyone, the Museum condemns hate speech in all its forms,” Tomoko Kawamoto, director of Public Information for the Museum of the Moving Image tells The Verge. “Out of concern for the safety of all participants, Museum visitors and staff, and the surrounding community, we are monitoring the situation in partnership with the police.”
The museum will be in daily communication with the local precinct and its officers. “I cannot go into specifics on security issues,” Kawamoto says. “I don't recall anything like this in the Museum's history.”
He Will Not Divide us began on January 20th, on the same day as President Trump’s inauguration, and is scheduled to run for the next four years of his presidency. The Museum denies that it is an “anti-Trump protest,” despite the timing of its opening. “That is not the intention of the artwork,” Kawamoto tells The Verge. “We have had both supporters and critics of President Trump participate in the performance; these interactions have been almost entirely peaceful.”
Participants are invited to repeat the phrase “he will not divide us” to the camera outside the museum for as long as they want. Kawamoto says that it welcomes “participants of all political viewpoints to be part of the work and expect all to behave with common decency and respect for others.”
Update (February 1st): This piece has been updated to include Turner and Rönkkö’s role in the project.