Actress Leah Remini has called into question the legitimacy of rape allegations made against her fellow former Scientologist Paul Haggis, insisting the filmmaker has always been a true “gentleman.”
Haggis was recently accused of sexual assault from three anonymous women, who each claim the Crash director forced himself on them during business meetings.
He has vehemently denied the allegations, which were made public in early January (18), weeks after he sued New York-based publicist Haleigh Breest for making what he insists are false statements of rape, after trying to extort millions from him.
Haggis’ ex-wife, actress Deborah Rennard, who divorced the Million Dollar Baby writer in 2016, has already voiced her support for the Oscar winner, and now Remini and Mike Rinder, her co-host on controversial TV series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, have released an open letter defending Haggis’ character.
Acknowledging the current climate regarding sexual misconduct and movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, which call for an end to inappropriate sexual behavior, they begin the note by stating, “There is plenty of reason to worry about defending anyone accused of sexual assault. But the fear of consequences for speaking our truth has not held us back in the past and isn’t about to start now.”
Branding Haggis “a good man” who has dedicated his life to championing equal rights and helping the underprivileged, they continue, “Like all of us, Paul Haggis is not perfect. Unlike a lot of us, he is truly a gentleman. A gentle man, with impeccable manners and a generous heart.”
Remini and Rinder, who broke away from Scientology in 2013 and 2007, respectively, go on to suggest the religion’s leaders are responsible for making up fake allegations against Haggis, who has repeatedly slammed church bosses and their practices since he quit in 2009, and they won’t be surprised if further stories from “more ‘anonymous’ accusers” surface in the press – all of which they believe are simply designed to “destroy” the director.
“Those who accuse without going to law enforcement, those who seek hush money to keep their stories secret, those who make accusations to the media anonymously – they are suspect,” the pair writes. “And when the target of these tactics is someone who is a prominent critic of Scientology, it is very suspect.
“Paul Haggis deserves, based on his record as a gentleman and humanitarian, to be judged when all the evidence has been taken under penalty of perjury in a court of law. Because claims of anonymous accusers who have NOT gone to law enforcement are not credible.”
Haggis, who recently appeared on the second season of Scientology and the Aftermath, has yet to comment on Remini and Rinder’s public backing.
– Cover Media0