×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paul Haggis Hit With Lawsuit for Alleged Rape, Claims a $9 Million Shakedown

A film publicist filed a lawsuit on Friday alleging that she was raped by director Paul Haggis in 2013. Haggis also sued the publicist, Haleigh Breest, denying the allegation and accusing her of trying to bankrupt him by extracting a $9 million settlement.

In her suit, Breest alleges that Haggis brought her back to his apartment after a movie premiere. She alleges that he kissed her against her will, and at one point said, “You’re scared of me, aren’t you?” She said she realized she was unable to escape the apartment. Haggis brought her to the bedroom, where he ripped off her tights, and forced her to perform oral sex, according to the suit. She said she repeatedly said no, but that Haggis violently raped her, and that she passed out.

According to Breest, she went to a therapist last summer and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the encounter. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she said she was outraged to see Haggis condemning Weinstein as a sexual predator.

“The truth she knows and has lived is that behind the façade of these comments lies another predator, a man willing to force himself on a young woman less than half his age and take pleasure in the fear and pain he caused her,” the suit states. “Ms. Breest will not look the other way any longer.”

Haggis filed his own suit Friday afternoon, a few hours before Breest filed hers. In his complaint, Haggis concedes that he had a “friendly, and at times flirtatious, relationship” with Breest. But he adamantly denies her rape allegation.

Haggis states that Breest’s lawyer sent him a letter on Nov. 16, which included her unfiled complaint and invited him to respond if he wanted to reach an out-of-court settlement. In a subsequent phone call on Dec. 11, he said the lawyer demanded $9 million.

Haggis’ suit includes a single claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. He asserts that he has suffered severe anxiety, constant fear, and crippling back pain since the allegations were made.

“Defendant’s threatened statements were designed to inflict the utmost terror upon Plaintiff, and were presented in the most graphically lurid (false) ways,” the suit states. “The tactic of using such extreme emotional abuse was clearly designed to best insure the ransom would be paid.”

He also states that as a prominent critic of Scientology, he is used to defending himself from false allegations.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Sentenced to 14 Years for $40 Million Fraud

    Edwin Rostohar, the longtime manager of the CBS Employees Federal Credit Union, was sentenced on Monday to 14 years in prison for embezzling $40 million. The massive fraud left the credit union insolvent. It was shuttered and taken over by the University Credit Union, which assumed the accounts of 2,800 members. Rostohar pleaded guilty in [...]

  • United Talent Agency Reveals New Logo

    UTA Unveils New Logo, Corporate Image

    UTA raised the curtain Monday on a new corporate logo. The three-dimensional image is meant to emphasize the talent agency’s focus on uniting ideas, opportunities and talent. Building signage with the new logo will go up next month at UTA’s headquarters in Beverly Hills. “Our new identity captures the multiple facets and intersections of our [...]

  • Tribune Tower

    FCC Approves Nexstar Acquisition of Tribune Media

    The FCC has voted to approve Nexstar’s $4.1 billion takeover of Tribune Media, paving the way for Nexstar to become the nation’s largest owner of television stations with more than 200 outlets serving a wide swath of the country. FCC commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the merger agreement that was reached in December. Nexstar’s pact [...]

  • Endeavor co-founder Ari Emanuel

    Endeavor Aims to Raise $620 Million With IPO

    Endeavor disclosed Monday that it expects a price between $30 and $32 per share for its initial public offering in the fall. Endeavor — the parent company of WME, UFC, IMG, Endeavor Content, Professional Bull Riders and other assets — aims to raise as much as $620 million with the sale of 19.4 million shares. [...]

  • Overall View of the Rose Bowl

    One Dead, One Injured in Rose Bowl Parking Lot Shooting

    One person was killed and another was injured Saturday night following a shooting in a Rose Bowl parking lot, the Pasadena police confirmed. According to a statement from the police department, police responded to reports of a physical altercation and shots fired at 11:22 p.m. near the area of Arroyo Boulevard and Seco Street, where [...]

  • Felicity Huffman

    Felicity Huffman Issues Apology After Receiving Prison Sentence: 'There Are No Excuses'

    Felicity Huffman issued a long statement of apology on Friday after receiving a two-week prison sentence for paying to illegally boost her daughter’s SAT score. In the statement, Huffman, in addition to saying  she accepts the court’s decision, acknowledges and apologizes to other parents fighting to get their children into college. Along with the prison [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content