Canadian director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy for sexual assault

Canadian director and producer Paul Haggis was arrested in southern Italy on Sunday. He is “seriously suspected of crimes of sexual assault and aggravated bodily harm, crimes committed against a young foreign woman”, announced the Italian press agencies ANSA and AGI, citing the Brindisi prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office did not provide further information.

Paul Haggis, 69, who wrote and directed the film “Collision” – Oscar winners for best film and best screenwriter – was due to star at the Allora Fest film festival which will start on Tuesday in the city of Ostuni in the province of Brindisi.

The young woman was with Haggis before the festival. The screenwriter would then have “forced her to have sexual relations”, indicated the prosecutor, who specified that the young woman was “forced to seek medical care”. After several days of “unconsented intercourse, she was taken” by Paul Haggis to Brindisi airport on Sunday and “was abandoned there at dawn, despite her precarious physical and psychological state”.

Haggis will not participate in the festival

The directors of the festival “immediately proceeded to withdraw any participation by the director in the event” and “express their full solidarity with the woman involved”, indicates the Allora Fest in a press release quoted by Variety.

In January 2018, in the wake of the Weinstein affair, the Canadian director was accused of sexual abuse by four other women, in a civil complaint filed in New York. One of Haggis’ lawyers, solicited, did not react on Sunday.

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