[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Paul Haggis has been arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges.
According to multiple Italian media outlets and a statement from the public prosecutor in the country, the 69-year-old filmmaker was detained in Ostuni on charges of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury. An unnamed woman claimed Haggis forced her into having sex with him for two days. He allegedly dropped the victim off at the Papola Casale airport on Sunday and left her there despite experiencing “precarious physical and psychological conditions.”
What the f**k…
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Airport staffers and border police helped the woman, who was reportedly in a “confused state” at the time, by providing first aid, taking her to the offices of the Italian Squadra mobile police unit, and then transferring her to the A. Perrino hospital in Brindisi. She subsequently filed formal charges against the Crash director. As prosecutors stated, she “formalized her complaint and cited circumstances which were subsequently looked into for confirmation by investigators.”
Meanwhile, his attorney Priya Chaudry told The Hollywood Reporter that she cannot discuss the case due to Italian law, adding:
“That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis. He is totally innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.”
Before being arrested, Haggis was in the area to teach master classes at the Allora Film Festival between June 21 and June 26. The directors of the festival told Variety they have “learned with dismay and shock the news that Paul Haggis is in custody for alleged violence” and have “immediately proceeded to remove any participation of the director from the event.” The statement continued:
“At the same time, they express full solidarity with the woman involved. The themes chosen for the festival are, among others, those of equality, gender equality, and solidarity. As professionals and women they are dismayed and hope that the festival will help foster more information and awareness on such a topical and increasingly pressing issue.”
This is not the first time that Haggis has faced a sexual assault allegation. Back in 2018, the Million Dollar Baby writer was sued by entertainment publicist Haleigh Breest who claimed that he had brutally raped in her New York apartment her following a premiere in 2013. When the civil lawsuit came to light, three more women came forward to also accuse him of sexual misconduct. He denied the allegations at the time.
Horrific what allegedly happened here…
What do you think about these new claims?
[Image via MEGA/WENN]