Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis has been arrested in Italy on allegations of sexual assault

The filmmaker was in town for the Allora Fest film event. The organizers have now removed him from the schedule

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Paul Haggis has been arrested in Italy on suspicion of sexual assault and serious bodily harm.

The Oscar-winning ‘Crash’ filmmaker, 69, has been arrested by authorities in the southern city of Ostuni after an unidentified woman filed charges against him – but the director’s lawyer has insisted Haggis is “completely innocent”.

In a statement released by Variety, Priya Chaudhry, Haggis’ private attorney, said: “Under Italian law, I cannot discuss the evidence. Despite this, I am confident that all allegations against Mr Haggis will be dismissed. He is completely innocent and willing to cooperate fully with the authorities to ensure that the truth is quickly revealed.”

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The filmmaker was in town for the Allora Fest film event, due to take place in Ostuni from June 21-26, and the organizers have now canceled him from the schedule.

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According to Variety, they said in a statement, “(We) immediately removed any participation by the director from the event… At the same time, they express their full solidarity with the woman involved…”

They added: “The themes chosen for the festival include equality, gender equality and solidarity. As professionals and women, they are dismayed and hope the festival will help generate more information and awareness on such a timely and increasingly pressing issue.”

Italian news agencies have released a statement from prosecutors in the city of Brindisi, who said they are investigating allegations involving a “young foreign woman” who claims she was forced to have “non-consensual” sexual relations for two days.

Haggis won two Academy Awards for his work on the 2004 drama Crash – for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. He also wrote the Clint Eastwood-directed sports drama Million Dollar Baby, as well as the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

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