Crash director Paul Haggis has been accused of sexual misconduct for the second time in a year as three more women have now come forward with their own stories. Hollywood has been rocked by an avalanche of seemingly unending sexual assault allegations this past few months, starting with decades of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and 2018 is looking to continue the trend.
Two women have accused Haggis of harassment and attempted assault, one said he had gone as far as to follow her into a taxi cab before she managed to get away. The third accused Haggis of forced oral sex and rape. These allegations are a direct result of a civil lawsuit against Haggis on December 15, in which Haleigh Breest accused the director of rape. All accusers gave similar details in how the assaults began, saying that Haggis had attempted to kiss them before trying anything else. Both rape victims accused Haggis of forcing oral sex and mentioned Haggis had had open bottles of wine present. The second accuser reportedly has corroboration for her story from a friend. Breest claimed to have sought help from friends, a psychologist, and a health clinic following the assault. If proven, this would add corroboration to her accusations, as well.
The three women credited the lawsuit with inspiring them to come forward with their own stories along with the MeToo hashtag. The second woman accusing Haggis of rape told AP she had seen Haggis’ picture and a report about Breest’s lawsuit and felt compelled to come forward. The women offered to share their stories with Breest’s attorney in exchange for anonymity. The corroborator has also requested to remain anonymous. All four witnesses claimed fear of retaliation as their reason for remaining unnamed. A new complaint has been filed including details of the three new assaults.
Haggis’ attorney, Christine Lepera, has denied the allegations, saying simply, “He didn’t rape anybody.” Haggis has also denied allegations and filed a counter-complaint accusing Breest and her lawyer of extortion. Haggis claimed Breest’s lawyer had approached him seeking $9 million and offered to drop the suit if the money was paid. Both camps have publicly shamed the other. Haggis’ lawyers have called Breest’s claims “ludicrous” and an “act of aggression.” While Breest’s attorneys expressed disapproval and shock over Haggis’ claim that he was the victim, accusing him of using the counter-suit as a PR move.
Haggis spoke avidly against Harvey Weinstein when news of his sexual assault allegations broke. Haggis had called into question people who may have “colluded with and protected” the producer, saying they were just as guilty. “I mean, he was a predator and a predator is a predator,” he said. “But what about those who would rather look the other way?”
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