sexual assault

Director Paul Haggis Accused of Raping Two Women, Sexually Harassing Two Others

Paul Haggis

Filmmaker and famed Scientology defector Paul Haggis — who directed 2004’s Oscar winner Crash, and wrote the scripts for Million Dollar Baby and Casino Royale, among other acclaimed films — has been accused of sexual misconduct by four women, including two allegations of rape.

The accusations flooded in following a civil lawsuit filed on December 15 by a publicist named Haleigh Breest, who alleges that Haggis offered to give her a ride home after a 2013 film premiere. Instead, he brought her back to his apartment, where he began kissing her and became “sexually aggressive.” Per the AP:

She was “petrified and felt paralyzed,” the suit said, when Haggis asked her, “You’re scared of me, aren’t you?”Haggis then forced her into a bedroom and onto a bed and tried to tear off her tights, she said. She called out “no,” but he wouldn’t stop, she said.


He forced her to perform oral sex on him, he fondled her, asked if she liked anal sex, then raped her, according to the lawsuit. When she woke up hours later, feeling sore, scared and humiliated, she saw Haggis sleeping in another bedroom, and left.

In the wake of Breest’s suit, three other women have come forward with their own allegations. They all spoke to the AP anonymously.

One of the new accusers, also a publicist, said she was working on one of Haggis’s shows in 1996 when he called her into his office and began kissing her. “I just pulled away. He was just glaring at me and came at me again. I was really resisting. He said to me, ‘Do you really want to continue working?’” the woman told the AP. “And then he really forced himself on me. I was just numb. I didn’t know what to do.” She says Haggis then forced her to perform oral sex on him, before forcing her to the ground and raping her. The woman said she never spoke out because of fear nobody would believe her and that Haggis would come after her professionally, but that #MeToo has inspired her to break her silence.

A third accuser said Haggis attempted to kiss her after a business meeting in the late 2000s, claiming he and his wife had an open marriage, and then pursued her to her car after she tried to leave. She managed to drive off safely.

A fourth accuser said Haggis kissed her against her will and then followed her into a taxi in 2015. When the taxi arrived at her place, “Haggis threw money at the driver, chased her and kissed her again before she was able to get into her residence and shut the door. She said Haggis waved his hands at her once she was inside and sent her harassing text messages for the next 24 hours, until she blocked him.”

Haggis has denied Breest’s allegation in a counter-complaint, claiming that Breest was extorting him by $9 million dollars to prevent a lawsuit. Breest’s lawyers in turn call Haggis’s counter-complaint “ludicrous.”

Director Paul Haggis Accused of Rape and Sexual Harassment