Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis, winner of the Oscars for best direction and best original screenplay for “Crash: On the Edge” (2004), was arrested this Sunday (19) in Ostuni, southern Italy, for sexual abuse and bodily harm, informed the local press.
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According to the newspaper “Corriere Della Sera”, the Public Ministry of the province of Brindisi released a note in which it said that the 69-year-old director, producer and screenwriter had forced a “foreign woman” (non-Italian) to have sex with him for two days and then dropped her off at the nearby Papola Casale airport.
The statement describes that the alleged victim would be in “precarious physical and psychological conditions” upon arrival at the terminal. There, she received assistance from officials and border policy. Afterwards, she was taken to the Perrino hospital, for care that followed the protocol adopted in rape cases. The woman also formalized a complaint against the filmmaker.
Haggis traveled to Italy to attend the Allora Fest. The American magazine “Variety” reported that the director would give several “master classes” (lectures) at the event, which is organized by Italian journalist Silvia Bizio and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton and is scheduled to take place between Tuesday (21 ) and Sunday (26).
To “Variety”, Silvia Bizio confirmed the arrest and said that the festival is “completely distancing itself” from the filmmaker.
In addition to “Crash”, Haggis has directed films such as “In Valley of the Shadows” (2007) and “72 Hours” (2010), as well as the series “Show me a hero” (2015). Among his screenplays are “Golden Girl” (2004), “The Conquest of Honor” (2006), “007: Casino Royale” (2006) and “007 – Quantum of Solace” (2008).
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Director was something of accusation in 2018
In January 2018, four women accuse Haggis of sexual assault, such as rape or attempted rape.
A civil suit against the director, producer and writer accused him of raping a woman named Haleigh Breest in 2013, prompting three others to disclose their allegations to the Associated Press news agency.
One claimed that Haggis forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her in 1996. Another said he held her arms, kissed her in the street without consent, and then followed her to a taxi. She managed to escape.
The fourth of them said that Haggis tried to rape her. “I need to be inside you,” he would have said. The woman also managed to escape.
At the time of the allegations, the filmmaker’s lawyer, Christine Lepera, denied the allegations: “He didn’t rape anyone.” Haggis had previously denied the original charge when suing the first woman for racketeering, claiming that the plaintiff and her attorney had demanded $9 million to avoid legal action.