Oscar-winning Canadian director Paul Haggis has been detained in southern Italy after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her.
The 69-year-old is accused of forcing the young, non-Italian woman to have non-consensual sexual relations with her over two days in the Puglia town of Ostuni. The film-maker said via lawyer Michele Laforgia that he was “totally innocent”.
Haggis has been put under house arrest, reportedly either at a hotel or a villa in the area. He was in Italy to take part in the upcoming “Allora Fest” film festival in Ostuni. In a separate case, in 2018 a woman accused Haggis of raping her in 2013 and he is facing a civil lawsuit over these allegations. Three other women subsequently made sexual-misconduct allegations against Haggis.
Haggis won Academy Awards for best screenplay and best picture at the 2006 Oscars with Crash. He also wrote the screenplay for another Oscar-wining film, Million Dollar Baby.