Canadian director and screenwriter Paul Haggis was arrested in Italyaccused of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury.
Haggis was in Ostuni, where I was going to give talks at a film festivalbut a young woman accused them of “forcing her to have sex” in that European city, according to a statement from prosecutors in the nearby city of Brindisi.
The director was going to lead a series of conducting masterclasses at Allora Fest, a new film festival, between June 21 and 26. However, his plans were interrupted after The woman reported him for having raped her twice.
According to what was collected by the police, Haggis would have taken the woman to the Papola Casale airport in Brindisi so that she could return to her country despite “their precarious physical and mental conditions”. It was then that several officers helped the girl, took her to the hospital and, later, filed a formal complaint.
Haggis’s lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, to whom she indicated that “she cannot discuss the evidence,” according to Italian law. “I’m sure that all charges against mr haggis will be dismissed. He is totally innocent and is willing to cooperate fully with the authorities so that the truth comes to light quickly,” he said.
From the Allora Fest they expressed their dismay at what happened and made their decision known regarding Haggis: “We immediately proceeded to withdraw from the event any participation of the director. At the same time, we express total solidarity with the woman involved.”
Paul Haggis already had a record
Haggis anda had faced allegations of sexual abuse or related assaults. In 2018, when #MeToo broke out in Hollywood, the publicist Haleigh Breest sued him for rape: According to that complaint, the event would have happened in 2013, after a premiere.
After this accusation, three more women filed similar complaints. The first case has its trial delayed due to delays caused as a result of Covid-19.
Haggis has an extensive career in film and television. In the early 2000s won two consecutive Oscars for the script of million dollar Baby and by the direction of Lifes crossedin 2004 and 2005, respectively.