Abused for three days by the Oscar-winning director. Unfortunately it is not the plot of a film but the new scandal involving Hollywood. The Canadian director and screenwriter Paul Haggis from this morning he is under house arrest in a hotel in Ostuni (Brindisi), “seriously suspected – says the prosecutor – of the crimes of aggravated sexual violence and aggravated personal injury” against a 30-year-old English woman.
Haggis, who in 2006 won the statuette with the film Crash-Physical Contactwith Matt Dillon And Sandra Bullockhas been in Puglia for a week where he should have participated in the Allora Fest, the International Film Festival to be held from 21 to 26 June.
Who is Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning director accused of sexual assault
by Arianna Finos
The disputed facts date back to the beginning of the week, between Sunday and Wednesday, and allegedly took place in a b & b in Ostuni.
The alleged victim, who had met him some time before, would have joined him from Salento, where he was with some friends. She would have spent three days with him during which she would have suffered, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, “repeated sexual assaults”, “non-consenting” relationships, underline the prosecutors.
Last Wednesday Haggis would then have accompanied the woman in front of the Papola Casale airport in Brindisi, leaving her there “at dawn, despite the precarious physical and psychological conditions”, highlights the Prosecutor’s Office, after she had also left a love note in the room . At the airport, the 30-year-old, “in an evident state of confusion”, was noticed by staff from Aeroporti di Puglia and the Border Police who gave her the first treatment and accompanied her to the police station and then to the Perrino hospital in Brindisi for the “pink protocol” dedicated to the victims of violence.
At that point the alleged victim formalized the complaint in a long story reported, in excerpts, in the arrest decree notified to the director today. In the same provision, the Prosecutor asks for the application of the precautionary measure after the validation hearing, not yet fixed, and also a probative incident to crystallize the woman’s statements.
Waiting to be able to provide his version of the facts in the interrogation that will be fixed in the coming days before the judge, today Haggis at the police station, assisted by the lawyer Michele Laforgia and while his family joined him from America, he said only a few words, asking “to do an investigation as soon as possible because he declares himself totally innocent”.
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In the past, the director had had to defend himself against similar accusations. A civil lawsuit is still pending in the US after being reported by the press officer Haleigh Breest. Since 2018, four other women have said they have been victims of sexual harassment and assault.
A long list of accusations to which is now added that of the 30-year-old Englishwoman who, this time, risks costing him pre-trial detention. In two days Haggis would have been among the protagonists of the first edition of the Ostuni Film Festival, also with the task of interviewing well-known Hollywood faces such as Edward Norton, Matt Dillon, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Stone. But the organizers of the event, after the detention, announced that they had “immediately removed any participation of the director from the event”.