Filmmaker Paul Haggis has been accused of sexual misconduct by four women, including a publicist who claims he raped her and forced her to perform oral sex.
On Dec. 15, a woman identified as Haleigh Breest filed a lawsuit against Haggis, according to the Associated Press. Three more women came forward to Breest's attorneys in New York, and later spoke to the AP under anonymity. On Friday, Breest amended the lawsuit to include the claims from the other three women.
Haggis has denied the allegations. "He didn't rape anybody," his attorney, Christine Lepera, told the AP.
The three Jane Does told the AP that the incidents happened between 1996 and 2015. They all claim Haggis attempted to kiss them, but they fought back. Haggis then became aggressive.
The publicist claims Haggis raped her in 1996, when she was 28 years old and was working on a show Haggis was producing. One day, he asked her to look over photos in her office.
"I thought it was odd, but I agreed. He was the ultimate boss. I didn't feel inclined to say no," the woman said.
Haggis arrived after everyone left the office and told her they needed to speak in a back office. Once they got there, Haggis allegedly started 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."
The woman claims Haggis forced her to perform oral sex and raped her.
A friend of the woman corroborated the story, saying that the woman appeared to be depressed and lost weight. The woman told her about the alleged rape. The friend also spoke anonymously, since she still works in the entertainment industry.
After Breest filed her lawsuit last month, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Haggis filed a counter-lawsuit, accusing Breest of extortion. Breest claims Haggis raped her in 2013, following the premiere of Side Effects.
"Mr. Haggis denies these anonymous claims in whole," Haggis' attorney said in a statement to the AP.
"In a society where one of a person’s fundamental rights is the ability to confront an accuser, that right has now been eviscerated when it comes to anyone being charged in the press with any sort of sexual misconduct. Notably, no one has reached out to anyone on Mr. Haggis’ team other than the press to report this. He views the fact that these reports appear to be spearheaded from the law-firm representing Ms. Breest, as a further tactic to try to harm him and continue their effort to obtain money."
Haggis' attorney also said the Crash director "questions whether Scientology has any role here, which he notes has been attacking him for years with false accusations."
Haggis left Scientology in 2009 and has been a public critic of the religion since. The women accusing him told the AP they do not have links to Scientology.
Haggis is best known for winning Oscars for writing and co-producing Crash. He also wrote Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima and In The Valley of Elah.
Photo credit: Andres Iglesias Rodriguez/Getty Images