Paul Haggis, the filmmaker behind 2006’s surprising Best Picture winner Crash, has been arrested in Italy on “charges of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury.” That comes from Variety, which says a “still unidentified woman” (all we know is that she is not Italian) pressed charges against Haggis, accusing him of forcing her to “undergo sexual intercourse over the course of two days.”
A police report says that Haggis allegedly assaulted the woman and then took her to the Papola Casale airport “on Sunday morning at the crack dawn” and left her there alone with “precarious physical and psychological conditions.” The airport staff gave her first aid and took her to the police, where she filed charges against Haggis, and then the police took her to a hospital.
Haggis is currently in Italy for the new Allora Fest film event, during which he was scheduled to host “several master classes,” according to Variety. One of the event’s organizers, Italian journalist Siliva Bizio, confirmed that Haggis had been arrested and that Allora Fest is “completely taking its distance” from him.
This new allegation comes after four women accused Haggis of sexual misconduct in 2018. One of those accusers, later identified as a publicist, said that Haggis had “violently raped her after a premiere in 2013” and had filed a civil suit against him. Haggis has denied those allegations, with his attorney suggesting in 2018 that they might have been motivated by Haggis’ criticisms of Scientology (he had been a member for several decades before leaving the organization in 2009). Variety notes that the trial related to that suit still hasn’t happened due to COVID-related delays.
In addition to writing and directing Crash, Haggis also wrote Million Dollar Baby and worked on the scripts for both Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace.
Update (2/19/22): Haggis’ attorney has now released a statement, via Variety, saying:
Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis. He is totally innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.