In Italy, an Oscar-winning director has been arrested on Sunday in connection with allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in the south of the country, Italian news media said, quoting local prosecutors.
He is also accused of aggravated personal injury inflicted on an unidentified woman who has filed the charges. Paul Haggis, 69, the Oscar-winning Canadian screenwriter and director, is now in custody pending investigation, the Guardian reported.
According to multiple Italian press reports and a letter from the public prosecutor, Haggis is accused of forcing a young, non-Italian – woman to engage in sexual intercourse over the course of two days in Ostuni.
He was scheduled to hold several master classes at the Allora Fest, a new film event founded by Los Angeles-based Italian journalist Silvia Bizio and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton from June 21 to June 26.
The fest’s directors “immediately proceeded to remove any participation of the director from the event” and “At the same time, they express full solidarity with the woman involved,” they added.
Not the first time
Paul Haggis was previously accused of sexual misconduct by four women in the United States in 2018, including two rape allegations.
In that case, which has yet to be heard in court, the director was originally sued by a publicist who claimed he raped her. Three other women have made similar allegations.
Haleigh Breest, a publicist, accused Haggis of “a shocking and egregious case of rape and sexual assault” in 2013, reported Deadline.
Haggis filed a countersuit, claiming that the lawsuit was an “extortion” attempt to extort $9 million from him. The identities of the three subsequent accusers have not been revealed.
Haggis’ legal team denied all allegations, claiming that “he didn’t rape anyone.”
Forced to have oral sex
In 1996, Haggis asked a 28-year-old publicist working on a television show he was producing to review photos from the show in her office that night. “I thought it was strange at first, but I agreed.” “He was the ultimate boss,” the woman told the Associated Press.
Everyone else had left the office for the night when Haggis arrived for the meeting. He insisted on speaking in a back office, then began kissing her as they entered. “I was really fighting. “He asked me, ‘Do you really want to keep working?’” the woman told the Associated Press. “And then he pushed himself on me.”
The woman claimed Haggis forced her to have oral sex, then pushed her to the ground and raped her. After the encounter, the woman was so traumatised and terrified that she asked a friend to accompany her to work the next day. A friend confirmed the story.
Haggis’s longtime personal attorney Priya Chaudhry said in a statement,“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.”
In a statement, The Allora Fest said they have “learned with dismay and shock the news that Paul Haggis is in custody for alleged violence.”
The post An oscar-winning director has been arrested for sexual assault appeared first on The Independent News.
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