Tuesday 23 January 2018

Crash director Paul Haggis denies new allegations of sexual misconduct

Paul Haggis has denied allegations of sexual misconduct (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese, File)
Paul Haggis has denied allegations of sexual misconduct (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese, File)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Moviemaker Paul Haggis has denied new allegations of sexual misconduct, a month after suing a woman who accused him of "gender violence".

Three women have come forward with fresh claims of non-consensual sex against the Crash director, and each are now being represented by the lawyers for Haleigh Breest, who filed a civil suit against him last month, accusing the Oscar winner of rape.

The unnamed new accusers told the Associated Press Haggis attempted to force himself on them during business meetings.

One of the women, a publicist, claims the filmmaker asked her to review photos from a TV show he was working on, and then started kissing her, adding, "And then he really forced himself on me."

She alleges Haggis made her perform oral sex before raping her.

A statement released on behalf of Haggis reads: "Mr. Haggis denies these anonymous claims in whole. In a society where one of a person's fundamental rights is the ability to confront an accuser, that right has now been eviscerated when it comes to anyone being charged in the press with any sort of sexual misconduct.

"Notably, no one has reached out to anyone on Mr. Haggis' team other than the press to report this. He views the fact that these reports appear to be spearheaded from the law-firm representing Ms. Breest, as a further tactic to try to harm him and continue their effort to obtain money."

A lawyer representing Haggis, Christine Lepera, noted that her client "also questions whether Scientology has any role here", adding, "he notes (it) has been attacking him for years with false accusations".

The director left the controversial church in 2009 and has since become a vocal opponent of the organisation.

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