Paul Haggis is striking first against a woman he claims has been trying to shake him down for money over an alleged sexual assault he claims never happened.
According to a lawsuit obtained by The Blast, Haggis claims he was recently approached by an attorney for a woman named Haleigh Breest. Haggis says the woman was claiming that he committed an act of "gender violence" against her five years prior.
Haggis says the letter contained a lawsuit that had not yet been filed and instructed Haggis to contact her attorneys "if he was 'interested in discussing a resolution of this matter without resort to litigation.'"
The "Crash" director says that during a phone call a few weeks later, the attorney demanded a payment of $9,000,000.
Haggis says in the lawsuit that, among other things, he could not have committed any act of violence at the time in question because he had serious back problems at the time of the alleged incident and even had surgery shortly before the day in question.
As for why he decided to act first, Haggis said he has been on the receiving end of many false accusations stemming from his criticisms of Scientology. Because of that, he says he "is not going to allow the false narrative threatened by the Defendant to frighten him into capitulating to these outrageous and wholly baseless demands, and is instead going to confront his accuser and seek all available remedies for the harm she has inflicted (and intends to continue to inflict) on him."
He also says at one point, "Defendant’s threatened statements were designed to inflict the utmost terror upon Plaintiff, and were presented in the most graphically lurid (false) ways. The tactic of using such extreme emotional abuse was clearly designed to best insure [sic] the ransom would be paid."
The two-time Oscar winner says in the lawsuit he knew Breest because she worked as a publicist for a company that hosts events for clients in the film industry. Haggis says the two "occasionally interacted at film-industry events and developed what [Breest] believed was a friendly, and at times flirtatious, relationship."
Haggis is seeking unspecified damages.
The Blast reached out to a number for Breest, but the woman who answered hung up on us.