Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning director of Crash, has been accused of sexual misconduct by four different women, but he has repeatedly suggested his fraught relationship to the Church of Scientology is the real reason behind the claims. Haggis is an outspoken critic of Scientology—he was a member until 2009—and he claims that he is being set up by them in a “public hanging.” Now, actress Leah Remini, famed Scientology critic and a former member herself, has written an open letter defending Haggis from the sexual assault claims.
“We expect the next ‘revelations’ about Paul Haggis in this campaign to destroy him to be based on information culled from his scientology files in the form of more ‘anonymous’ accusers, hiding behind a lawyer who will never have to disclose who is paying their bill,” the open letter stated.
Remini, who was a member of Scientology until 2013, won an Emmy for her A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which took a searing look at how Scientology works, it’s kookiest beliefs, and how it conspires against its critics. The Church has denied many of her claims and has even threatened to sue. Haggis himself made a an appearance on the show’s second season. Remini and her co-host Mike Rinder signed the open letter in an attempt to throw their defense in Haggis’s direction. Haggis’s former wife has also issued a statement in support of the director, claiming that Haggis would “never have committed any violent acts against women.”
Haggis was first accused, in December of last year, of raping publicist Haleigh Breest in his New York City apartment in 2013. Breest allegedly requested $9 million from Haggis to keep her story quiet. Earlier this month, three more women came forward with other claims of sexual misconduct against Haggis.
“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,” Remini and Rinder wrote. “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,” Remini and Rinder conclude their letter. “Because claims of anonymous accusers who have NOT gone to law enforcement are not credible.”