Crash director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Paul Haggis has been arrested in Italy on a charge of sexual assault.

According to several Italian media outlets and a statement from the country’s public prosecutor, the 69-year-old filmmaker was detained in Ostuni on charges of assault and grievous bodily harm. An unnamed woman claimed that Haggis forced her to have sex with him for two days. He would have dropped off the victim at the Papola Casalea airport on Sunday and left her there despite experiencing “precarious physical and psychological conditions”.

What the f**k…

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Airport staff and border police helped the woman, who was 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 then filed formal charges against the… Crash director. As the prosecutors stated, “she formalized her complaint and cited circumstances which were then investigated by investigators for confirmation.”

Meanwhile, his lawyer Priya Chaudry told The Hollywood Reporter that she cannot discuss the matter due to Italian law, adding:

“Having said that, I am confident that all charges against Mr Haggis will be dismissed. He is completely innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so that the truth comes out quickly.”

Before he was arrested, Haggis was around to give masterclasses at the Dan Film Festival between June 21 and June 26. The festival’s directors told Variety they were “dismayed and shocked to learn of the news that Paul Haggis is in custody for alleged assault” and have “immediately removed the director’s participation in the event.” The statement continued:

“At the same time, they express their full solidarity with the woman involved. The themes chosen for the festival include those of equality, gender equality and solidarity. As professionals and women, they are stunned and hope that the festival will contribute to more information and awareness on such a topical and increasingly urgent topic.”

It is not the first time Haggis has been accused of sexual assault. In 2018, the Million Dollars Baby writer was sued by entertainment publicist Haleigh Breest who claimed he brutally raped her in her New York apartment after a 2013 premiere. 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.

Horrible what has allegedly happened here…

What do you think of these new claims?

[Image via MEGA/WENN]