One of the women accusing Paul Haggis of sexual misconduct has written a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, explaining why she’s chosen to remain anonymous. She also denies allegations from Haggis (who has vehemently maintained his innocence), Leah Remini, and Mike Rinder (of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath) that the accusations are part of a smear campaign orchestrated by the Church of Scientology.
Haggis severed ties with the controversial religion in 2009.
Since sharing her story with The Associated Press — in which she alleges that the 64-year-old Crash director sexually assaulted her, telling her, “I need to be inside you” — the anonymous woman claims Haggis “has shamelessly used his powerful voice to attempt to discredit me and his other accusers, insinuating we are liars and cowards because we seek anonymity. This is a strategy that predators use to silence their victims.”
In the article, the woman explains that she felt compelled to come forward after reading the account of Haleigh Breest, who was sued by Haggis in a suit claiming she attempted to extort Haggis by threatening to go public with her allegations (which he continues to deny) unless he offered her a financial settlement.
“I couldn’t let this woman battle this serial predator and bully alone. I decided to speak out,” she writes, adding that revealing her identity publicly “would be too much. By speaking anonymously, I could help protect other women and still protect myself.”
The woman then alleges that Haggis has “attempted to discredit his accusers, alleging we are working together to profit from him and are acting on behalf of the Church of Scientology, of which Haggis is a prominent defector. This is offensive and false. I do not know and have not spoken or met with any of his other accusers. I do not stand to make anything. I want nothing from Haggis other than that the truth be known.”
After the AP story was published, Remini and Rinder came to Haggis’ defence, noting that “claims of anonymous accusers who have NOT gone to law enforcement are not credible,” and that “when the target of these tactics is someone who is a prominent critic of Scientology, it is very suspect.”
In a statement issued by his attorney, Haggis “denies these anonymous claims in whole,” and also “questions whether Scientology has any role here, which he notes has been attacking him for years with false accusations.”
The anonymous accuser, however, denies any ties to the Church of Scientology. “I have no connection with Scientology or its practitioners. For those people — including actress Leah Remini — who have stated publicly that all of Haggis’ accusers are part of a Scientology conspiracy, shame on you. Isn’t now the time to be listening to your sisters? Such baseless statements attempt to silence all of us and the entire #MeToo movement.”
Haggis, Remini and Rinder have yet to issue a response to the article.