A young woman, who has been identified as a British citizen, has lodged a complaint against Haggis, charging the two-time Oscar winner of forcing her to have sexual intercourse against her will during a period of three days in Ostuni.
Haggis was booked to hold a series of master classes at the Allora Fest, a new film festival started by Los Angeles-based Italian journalist Silvia Bizio and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton, which is scheduled to run June 21-26.
According to an Italian police report, the woman was brought to the Papola Casale Airport in Brindisi on Sunday morning and stayed there despite her “precarious physical and psychological conditions.” She was then assisted by airport staff and police officers and brought to the hospital before eventually filing formal complaints.
Haggis’ Italian lawyer, Michele Laforgia, told local press that Haggis is “completely innocent” and affirmed his first court date is set Thursday, June 23. Laforgia refused to give additional comment, stating prosecutors have not yet presented him with details of the charges. (Related: Kavanaugh speaks out against bogus sexual assault allegations: “This never happened”)
“We cannot declare anything else, nor enter into the merits of the accusations,” Laforgia said in a statement to several media outlets.
“I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed,” Haggis’ United States attorney Priya Chaudhry told the Hollywood Reporter. She added that Haggis is “willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.”
This is not the first time the Canadian director, who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby” and wrote and directed Oscar best picture winner “Crash,” has been charged of sexual misconduct.
In 2018, publicist Haleigh Breest brought charges against Haggis claiming he had forcefully raped her in her New York apartment after a premiere in 2013. In the wake of her accusations, three more women came forward with separate sexual misconduct accusations against Haggis, who has dismissed all the allegations.
Allora Fest organizers, in a statement to Variety, said they “learned with dismay and shock the news that Paul Haggis is in custody for alleged violence.” The fest also “immediately proceeded to remove any participation of [Haggis] from the event.”
“The themes chosen for the festival are, among others, those of equality, gender equality and solidarity. As professionals and women they are dismayed and hope that the festival will help foster more information and awareness on such a topical and increasingly pressing issue,” the organizers added.
Calls to remove Haggis’ name in city park gains momentum
Meanwhile, the movement to strip Haggis’ name from a city park in London, Ontario, gained momentum after news of recent sexual assault accusations against the London-born director.
The charges in Italy marked the fifth time the 69-year-old Haggis has been publicly accused of sexual assault or harassment.
“There’s a sense of ‘common now.’ This isn’t new for him. This is years in the making and there’s a pattern at this point that’s been established,” said AnnaLise Trudell, the education and research manager at the Anova women’s shelter in London.
Trudell and Councilor Mo Salih were among the eminent voices in the city when demands to remove Haggis’ name from the park first appeared in 2018. In that year, four women in America accused Haggis of sexual assault and harassment in events that supposedly took place between 1996 and 2015, but have yet to be proven in court.
Four years later, the park on Bateman Trail, in London’s sprawling southern suburbs still carries his name, which Trudell stated can be damaging for the one in four women who experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
“[This] sends a very clear message to all survivors in the city – that their experience is not worthy. It has this lasting sense of minimizing what you went through and also this sense of, if you speak up too loudly you’re also likely going to be in a scenario where you’re accused of lying or making a big deal out of something that was not,” Trudell added.
Watch the video below to know more about the growing list of Hollywood celebrities who have been accused of harassment, assault and rape.
This video is from the harrier808 channel on Brighteon.com.
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