A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by Paul Haggis defended her decision to remain anonymous and shot down a Scientology conspiracy in the face of public outcry from members of the famed director’s inner circle.
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, the woman wrote that she initially wanted to keep her story private — even as Harvey Weinstein’s downfall was playing out in the public eye — but came forward after the Oscar-winning “Crash” director filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who accused him of rape.
“I couldn’t let this woman battle this serial predator and bully alone. I decided to speak out,” she wrote.
She brought her story to the Associated Press, divulging the details of a night in the late 2000s in which she claims Haggis lunged at her, tried to kiss her and told her, “I need to be inside you,” after she arrived in his Los Angeles office to pitch him a television show.
“Since the publication of that Jan. 5 piece, 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,” she wrote. “This is a strategy that predators use to silence their victims.”
The woman said she chose to remain anonymous in order to avoid potential retaliation from Haggis and other ramifications that could affect her career.
Leah Remini defended the Oscar-winning director and suggested his accusers were part of a Scientology conspiracy.
(Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
“(Communications experts) warned me that Haggis would use his powerful friends to denounce us, which is precisely what he has done,” she wrote.
In the past week, Haggis has received public support from ex-wife Deborah Rennard, actress Leah Remini and her “Scientology and the Aftermath” co-host Mike Rinder.
All three spoke glowingly of Haggis’s character in open letters, and Remini and Rinder implied that his accusers were part of a Church of Scientology conspiracy. Haggis left the controversial religion in 2009, and Remini followed in 2013.
Rennard, meanwhile, attempted to deflate two accusers’ stories and suggested the anonymous accusers should be shamed for keeping their identities secret.
Stars accused of sexual harassment and assault
“(Haggis) has also 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,” she wrote. “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.”
The woman added she has no connection to the church or Remini, and called out the actress by name.
“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,” she wrote.
Haggis has denied all four allegations of sexual assault.