Paul Haggis, who won Oscars with the films Million dollar baby in Crash, was arrested in Italy on suspicion of ‘serious’ sexual assault against a young foreign woman. This was reported by Italian news agencies.
The Canadian director and producer – who is in Italy for the Allora Fest film festival, which begins Tuesday in the southern Italian city of Ostuni in the province of Brindisi – is “suspected of the sexual assault and aggravated assault of a young foreign woman,” the agencies quoted as saying. Ansa in AGI the public prosecutor of Brindisi.
“The suspect allegedly forced the young woman, whom he had met some time before, into sexual relations,” the prosecutor’s office said. After one of the encounters, the young woman had to receive medical care, the prosecutor’s office said.
Exclusion from festival
Haggis, 69, has denied the allegations. “Investigate as soon as possible, I am completely innocent,” he responds through his Italian lawyer, according to the agencies. The film festival is shocked and has banned Haggis from the festival.
The man was previously accused in the United States of sexual abuse by four women, two of whom also claimed to have been raped by Haggis. The trial is still ongoing because the case has been postponed due to the corona crisis. Haggis has always denied the facts.
Haggis became known to the general public in the mid-2000s. Having previously written screenplays for television series, he became the first screenwriter to win the Oscar for best picture two years in a row with Million dollar baby in Crashof which he is also the director.