Oscar-winning Canadian screenwriter and director Paul Haggis has been arrested in Ostuni, Italy on charges of sexual assault and aggravated bodily harm, reportedly inflicted on the still-unidentified woman who pressed the charges. According to several reports in the Italian press and a note from the prosecutor of the nearby city of Brindisi, Haggis is accused of forcing a young “foreigner”, i.e. not Italian, woman to have sexual intercourse for two days in Ostuni. where he was scheduled to host several workshops at Allora Fest, a new film event organized by Los Angeles-based Italian journalist Silvia Bisio and Spanish art critic Saul Costales Doulton, scheduled to run from June 21 to 26, according to Variety.
Bizio confirmed to Variety that Haggis has been arrested.
“According to Italian law, I cannot discuss the evidence,” Haggis’s longtime personal lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said in a statement. “However, I am confident that all charges against Mr. Haggis will be dismissed. He is completely innocent and is willing to fully cooperate with the authorities to get the truth out.”
The Allora Fest said in a statement that they “learned with dismay and shock that Paul Haggis is in custody on suspicion of violence.”
According to Variety, the festival’s directors have “immediately proceeded to remove any director’s involvement with the event” and “at the same time stand in full solidarity with the woman involved,” they added.
“The themes chosen for the festival include equality, gender equality and solidarity, among others. As professionals and women, they are alarmed and hope that the festival will help to generate more information and awareness on such a pressing and increasingly pressing issue,” the message says.
According to an Italian police report, the alleged victim after the attack was taken by Haggis to Papola Casale Airport in Brindisi and left there on Friday morning at dawn despite her “difficult physical and psychological condition”. Diversity’.
According to the report, at the airport, the alleged rape victim, who was in a “confused state”, was assisted by airport staff and border police, who, after giving first aid, escorted her to the offices of the Italian mobile police. Unit rev. Police agents then took the woman to the A. Perrino hospital in Brindisi, where Italy’s so-called “pink protocol” for rape victims was put in place.
The alleged victim subsequently filed formal charges against Haggis.
In 2018, Haggis, who wrote Million Dollar Baby and co-wrote and directed Crash, both of which won Oscars, was sued by publicist Hayley Brest, who alleged he brutally raped her after the premiere. in 2013. .
The lawsuit prompted three other women to make their own allegations of sexual harassment against Haggis, who vehemently denied the allegations.
The lawsuit is yet to be completed due to Covid delays.