NME Festival blog: Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis accused of sexual misconduct by four women
Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis has been accused of sexual misconduct by four women, with a civil lawsuit filed against the writer, director and producer known for his movies Million Dollar Baby and Crash.
Publicist Haleigh Breest filed a lawsuit against Haggis on December 15. Breest accuses Haggis of raping her after luring her back to his Manhattan apartment after a film premiere in 2013.
Haggis denies Breest’s allegation in a counter-complaint, accusing Breest and her lawyer of extortion by seeking a settlement payment of $9 million to avoid legal action.
On Friday (January 5), Breest’s attorneys filed an amended complaint that details allegations made by three new accusers that have come forward.
The other three claims relate to incident alleged to have taken place between 1996 and 2015. One alleges that Haggis forced her to perform oral sex on him before raping her. The other two remaining describe managing to escape after Haggis allegedly forced himself upon them.
Asked about the new accusations, Haggis’ attorney Christine Lepera said: “He didn’t rape anybody”.
Speaking to The Guardian in October, Haggis said that he didn’t think sexual harassment was endemic in Hollywood, but described the movie industry as “fairly sexist”.
On the allegations made against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Haggis said: “A lot of people are compromised by Harvey’s alleged actions,. Although everyone thinks it is vile behaviour, you have got to focus on those who may have colluded and protected him. For me, they are as guilty as he is and in some cases more so, if I can say that. I mean, he was a predator and a predator is a predator. But what about those who would rather look the other way?”
Straight from the NME
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