Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning director, was detained in Italy on suspicion of sexual assault and serious physical harm.
According to the Associated Press and several other Italian news outlets, a young woman identified only as “foreign” (meaning not Italian) filed charges against Haggis on Sunday, accusing him of forcing her to engage in sexual intercourse for two days in the city of Ostuni, where he was scheduled to participate in a film festival.
According to Italian news agency ANSA, Haggis then accompanied the young woman to Papola Casale Airport in Brindisi and left her there despite her “precarious health and psychological state.” The woman was assisted by airport workers and police, who accompanied her to a local hospital where she sought medical treatment. Soon later, the woman filed official allegations.
In a statement to EW, Haggis’ lawyer Priya Chaudhry said, “Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the facts.” “Having said that, I am convinced that any charges levelled against Mr. Haggis will be dismissed. He is completely innocent and eager to fully collaborate with authorities in order for the truth to be revealed as soon as possible.”
This isn’t the first time Haggis has been accused of assault. He is best known for his work on the Oscar-winning films Million Dollar Baby and Crash. Haleigh Breest, a publicist, sued Haggis in 2017 alleging that he physically assaulted her in New York after a film premiere in 2013. Three more women came out with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault the next year as a result of the lawsuit. All of the allegations levelled against Haggis have been refuted.
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