Shame on you... ...Leah Remini
Leah Remini put ALLEGED RAPIST Paul Haggis on the air. Now A JUDGE says Haggis must face the music in court.
Leah Remini’s tone-deaf cluelessness has never been more exposed.
After hearing the graphic details of an alleged rape committed by Paul Haggis, on July 26 New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Reed ordered that the man Remini has bent over backwards to defend, and whose accusers she smeared, must stand trial in a civil rape lawsuit involving a publicist and three other alleged victims.
According to news accounts of the hearing, publicist Haleigh Breest’s lawyer shocked the courtroom by telling how Haggis forcibly took the woman’s clothes off and penetrated her vagina. Haggis was then chillingly quoted as saying, “You’re nice and tight” and “You’ve been asking for it because you’ve been flirting with me for months.”
In addition to Breest, three other women, all anonymous, have alleged that they were sexually assaulted by Haggis.
Back in January, Remini and her flunky Mike Rinder shamelessly tried to publicly trash the Haggis accusers, which blew up in their faces when one of the accusers called Remini out by name in an anonymous column written for the Hollywood Reporter in which she described Remini’s actions as “shameful.”
Remini and Rinder had hoped to ride to the rescue of their comrade in hate Haggis by recklessly promoting the provably false lie that somehow the Church had put them up to it. The director had appeared a few weeks earlier on their A&E show spreading religious hate.
Never mind that they had zero proof, that the Church of Scientology doesn’t know any of the women, or that the plaintiff and her lawyer are on record making it clear that the lawsuit against Haggis over his behavior has zero to do with the Church. Remini and Rinder were desperate to seize the opportunity to stir hate against their former religion, while simultaneously throwing Haggis a PR lifeline by shaming the four women who were speaking their personal truth about their alleged encounters with the director.
But that wasn’t all. It wasn’t enough to exploit and publicly attack the four alleged victims; Remini, showing the depth of her insensitivity, took it a huge step further by attacking countless other women. She proclaimed that all women who are too afraid to go public or go to law enforcement are “not credible’’ and “suspect.” She and Rinder also disingenuously claimed that “We have avoided trial by media” in the very document they leaked to the press to smear the four Haggis accusers.
Needless to say, the Remini/Rinder stunt backfired in a big way. Not only was the Haggis grassy knoll conspiracy dead on arrival when they leaked their “open letter” promoting it, it triggered a well-deserved backlash questioning Remini’s mind-numbing judgment.
Remini and Rinder in their “open letter” trashing the alleged Haggis victims stated that Haggis should get a pass because he’s a “gentleman and humanitarian.” But lots of people have known the darker side of Haggis that is now emerging in the lawsuit alleging rape.
“Shame on you,” wrote one of the alleged victims in a comment directed straight at Remini in a guest Hollywood Reporter column. Added the attorney for Haggis plaintiff Haleigh Breest in a statement to the New York Post, “They are grasping at straws. But don’t be fooled. Ms. Breest has nothing whatsoever to do with Scientology. This case has nothing whatsoever to do with Scientology. It has everything to do with Paul Haggis.”
Predictably, the humiliated Remini never said a word about her ill-fated effort to spread hate. Neither did Rinder nor their other comrades such as propaganda minister “Backpage” Tony Ortega.
What Remini’s insensitive blunder really shows is her lack of character. The #MeToo moment for the notoriously self-centered former sitcom actress turns out to be all about the “me” as far as she’s concerned. She exploited for her own selfish purposes four victims alleging sexual assault and rape to spread her ugly brand of hate.
In addition, Remini and Rinder know that Haggis was a cornerstone of Season Two of her weekly televised hate fest. Exposing him as a rapist in a lawsuit—rather than the “gentleman and humanitarian” Remini and Rinder claim he is—would further undermine his already suspect credibility. It would also again expose A&E’s lack of judgment in letting Remini build her TV show on a foundation of “unvetted sources.” Remini openly brags that she doesn’t vet the sources on her TV shows for credibility and that A&E’s attorneys are perfectly happy to let her get away with it.
The allegations against Haggis come months after he was fully exposed as a fraud when Mark (Marty) Rathbun, the former “guru” who coached Paul Haggis into leaving the Church in 2009, outed the Haggis tale as a lie and publicity stunt. At the time, Haggis wanted to cast himself as a Paul-of-Arc crusader for same-sex marriage, so he disingenuously attacked the Church for not taking a position on California’s Proposition 8 campaign.
Haggis knew full well that the Church is nonpolitical and, as a tax-exempt religious and charitable organization, does not take positions on ballot issues of any kind, but he smelled a publicity stunt to give his deteriorating career a boost—a career that had been in a tailspin in the years since he directed the film Crash.
Haggis created a smear campaign—later confirmed in emails made public by Rathbun—that falsely claimed that he was unhappy with the Church because his daughters are gay, prompting him to review negative articles on the internet, leading to his departure. This lie served as the opening anecdote and linchpin for a New Yorker article by Lawrence Wright on Haggis, which in turn led to the HBO propaganda created by Alex Gibney. Haggis was scripting his own storyline to position himself as a champion of same-sex marriage and gay rights, when all he was cynically doing was orchestrating a publicity stunt.
The bottom fell out of the Haggis lie when Rathbun revealed in a YouTube video last year that the Haggis version of the story was a fraud. Rathbun disclosed that Haggis lied when he claimed “somehow” Rathbun received Haggis’ letter in October 2009. Rathbun states that he has an email of August 23, 2009, showing that not only did Haggis give Rathbun the letter by August, but that Rathbun was receiving detailed instructions from Haggis about how Rathbun was to present the letter deceptively to media contacts that Rathbun established to orchestrate its release and maximum media coverage. Rathbun posted the email.
Rathbun states: “So he says, by October, ‘Marty Rathbun got a hold of the letter.’ Well I actually have an email of 23 August, two months earlier, I’m talking with Paul Haggis, about, not only do I have the letter, but I’m getting detailed meticulous instructions about how to present it deceptively to media contacts that I’ve established.” Rathbun goes on “Paul Haggis consulted with me every step of the way, on how he should position this and how he should do this.”
Rathbun noted in his blog “the email contained directions from Paul Haggis to me to commit no less than eight misrepresentations of fact to media in an attempt to bamboozle them into buying his phony narrative about himself. That included the Haggis direction to create at least two invented identities to promote Haggis’ heroism and victimhood (conflicted any?).”
According to Rathbun, Haggis asked him for a big favor: “Look, for the sake of my image with my daughters, can you please avoid telling Larry Wright that you prompted me to go do an investigation into the Church.”
After Rathbun released his video calling out Haggis’ lie, Haggis was forced to admit it was a fabrication, even expressing his disappointment that Rathbun refused to be party to his lie. Haggis admitted that Rathbun was right about putting Haggis on the path that led to his resignation. Haggis stated, “At the time of Larry’s article and book I withheld the fact that Marty had reached out to me by email. … I withheld that information from Larry Wright.”
Remini and Rinder in their “open letter” trashing the alleged Haggis victims stated that Haggis should get a pass because he’s a “gentleman and humanitarian.” But lots of people have known the darker side of Haggis that is now emerging in the lawsuit alleging rape. Notably, his late sister Kathy, a screenwriter who worked with him, prior to her death warned of her brother’s history of lying and how he would target and verbally abuse actors on the set. She also wrote about his violent attack on her over a business dispute.
Kathy’s eerie warnings about her brother have taken on new meaning in the lawsuit alleging rape filed by Haleigh Breest, a publicist less than half his age with whom Haggis admitted having a “flirtatious relationship.”
In the lawsuit filed on December 15, 2017, Breest accused Haggis of raping her the night of the premiere of the movie Side Effects in 2013. According to media accounts, including an article that made the front page of the New York Daily News with the screaming headline “Head-On Crash,” the woman’s lawsuit alleges Haggis offered to give her a ride home.
According to news accounts, Breest alleged that Haggis brought her back to his apartment, kissed her against her will and asked her: “You’re scared of me, aren’t you?” Unable to escape, the woman alleged that Haggis “almost immediately began to make unwanted sexual advances and to forcibly kiss her, forced her to give him oral sex, inserted his fingers into her vagina and then raped her.”
Press articles also report that in her lawsuit the woman states she told her friends about the assault in the days after the incident, but did not speak out until now because of trauma, fear and shame.
Haggis complained he was being subjected to a “public hanging.” Breest’s attorney Jonathan Abady responded:
“In an act of remarkable hubris, Mr. Haggis has the temerity to claim that he, not her, was the victim. It is a preposterous and transparent PR stunt that will not succeed. Ms. Breest will not be intimidated or deterred from seeking justice.”
When three more women came out in early January following the Breest suit, accusing Haggis of sexual misconduct, Haggis denied the claims and continued to spin his debunked theory that the Church was behind their claims. The other victims, in an interview with The Associated Press, eviscerated the Haggis theory as well, exposing it as an obvious smokescreen:
Unable to escape, the woman alleged that Haggis “almost immediately began to make unwanted sexual advances and to forcibly kiss her, forced her to give him oral sex, inserted his fingers into her vagina and then raped her.”
Jane Doe 1, a publicist who worked on a TV show with Haggis, claims that in 1996 he attacked her in her office and forcibly tried to kiss her and threatened her career. She alleges he forced her to give him oral sex, and then raped her. Jane Doe 2, a woman who pitched a TV show to him, alleges that in 2008, during a meeting, Haggis told her, “I need to be inside you,” and tried to kiss her. She managed to escape. Jane Doe 3, a woman he met at a film festival in 2015, says he invited her to his hotel to discuss screenwriting, grabbed her and forcibly tried to kiss her. She ran to a taxi, but he jumped in and began “restraining her arms.” She hit him and ran away.
The Church has long maintained that Haggis is the “hypocrite of Hollywood.”
In fact, it’s the Haggis hypocrisy that caused the first of his alleged victims to decide to finally come forward. Breest saw self-righteous, sanctimonious comments by Haggis in The Guardian on October 21, 2017, criticizing embattled mogul Harvey Weinstein, with whom he had a long relationship. Said Haggis in the piece:
“It is really hard for their innocent employees in New York, who worked hard and may well lose their jobs, but a lot of people are compromised by Harvey’s alleged actions.
“Although everyone thinks it is vile behavior, you have got to focus on those who may have colluded and protected him. For me, they are as guilty as he is and in some cases more so, if I can say that. I mean, he was a predator and a predator is a predator. But what about those who would rather look the other way?”
Naturally, Haggis was looking for attention and a pat on the back from the media. But to his alleged victims like Breest, it was outrageous hypocrisy.
In Haggis’ complaint filed against Breest in an attempt to pre-empt her going public, he claimed that he was incapacitated and in a back brace at the time of the alleged rape in January of 2013 and thus unable to perform the act. Yet just two weeks prior, Haggis was interviewed on NBC Rock Center, and in the b-roll footage he is seen walking comfortably with host Harry Smith. A Daily Mail story on the premiere that Haggis and Breest attended before the alleged rape occurred shows him being hugged by actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and states, “She was determined to get her friend, screenwriter, director and producer Paul Haggis in the mood for dancing.”
In Breest’s response, she makes it clear she wants Haggis held accountable for what he did.
“The only thing worse than raping a woman is raping her, then suing her for trying to stand up for herself. Mr. Haggis’ complaint is a disgrace,” begins the legal response filed by attorneys for Haleigh Breest and obtained by The Blast.
In her response to his suit, Breest’s legal team goes on to say, “It [Haggis’ suit] says nothing about what happened on January 31, 2013. It fails to deny any of the horrific details of what happened in Mr. Haggis’ apartment. It is not even a sworn statement. It is nothing more than a PR stunt and an attempt to silence and intimidate Mr. Haggis’ victim. Shame on him.”
Despite the efforts by Remini and Rinder to rescue Haggis from his image fiasco, it’s getting worse for the director. On January 9, 2018, Haggis was forced to resign from the charity he started, Artists for Peace and Justice. The London Free Press reported on January 17, 2018, that a city councilor in London, Ontario, was pushing to rename Paul Haggis Park, considering the rape allegations against him. He asked city staff to remove the Paul Haggis Park sign and temporarily replace it while the city debated the issue.
On January 11, 2018, Haggis tried another desperate move to rescue his image via an interview with his ex-wife, Deborah Rennard, who defended Haggis against the rape allegations. Conveniently, there’s no mention of details—as reported earlier by TMZ—that Haggis supports Rennard with $20,000 per month and that she receives 20 percent of any money he makes over $1.2 million.
Immediately after Remini and Rinder tried smearing the Haggis accusers, one anonymous victim called them out in her Hollywood Reporter essay titled “I’m a Paul Haggis Sex Assault Accuser, and I’m Anonymous. Here’s Why.” In that piece, she relates how in the late 2000s she was sexually assaulted by Haggis. “I felt my life could have been over, as this man who was my father’s age forcibly grabbed me and tried to kiss me against my will. Fortunately, I escaped,” she wrote.
She added that she told friends and family, but never planned to go public. Like Breest, she was angry when she saw Haggis condemn Harvey Weinstein after what she allegedly experienced. She wrote that she changed her mind after she saw the Breest lawsuit: “I couldn’t let this woman battle this serial predator and bully alone. I decided to speak out.”
The woman went on to write that since the AP piece ran about her and the two other anonymous accusers, 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. This is a strategy that predators use to silence their victims … I am not anonymous to the reporters who told my story: They know my name, have seen contemporaneous evidence corroborating the circumstances of my experience and have spoken with people to whom I confided details shortly after the assault. But I also know that others assaulted by powerful people are unwilling to go through such a vetting process. Unfortunately, their stories remain untold.”
Finally, the woman takes Remini and Haggis to task for spreading the lie that the Church has anything to do with their allegations ... “For those people—including actress Leah Remini—shame on you.”
Finally, the woman takes Remini and Haggis to task for spreading the lie that the Church has anything to do with their allegations:
“He 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. 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.
“I have no connection with Scientology or its practitioners. For those people—including actress Leah Remini—who have stated publicly that all of Haggis’ accusers are part of a Scientology conspiracy, shame on you. 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.”