James Bond writer Paul Haggis arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges

Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis has been arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges on an unidentified woman.

The Canadian filmmaker, 69, has also been charged with aggravated personal injury on the anonymous woman who pressed the charges against him – according to Variety and Italian press.

Haggis, who famously wrote the Hollywood film Million Dollar Baby (2004), was arrested in Ostuni in southern Italy after allegedly forcing a young non-Italian woman to have non-consensual sexual relations over two days in Ostuni.

The writer, who also co-wrote James Bond films Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008), was scheduled to hold a number of master classes at the Allora Fest film event.

The film festival is set to run from June 21 to June 26, and was created by Los Angeles-based Italian journalist Silvia Bizio and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton.

Bizio confirmed to Variety that Haggis was arrested, and that the event is "completely taking its distance" from the director.

An Italian police report suggested the alleged sexual assault victim was helped by airport staff and border police after the alleged assault took place.

She was taken to the Perrino hospital in Brindisi for assistance and later filed formal charges against Haggis.

Haggis won the Best Picture Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, which starred Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman.

He also co-wrote and produced the crime drama Crash (2005), which won Best Picture the following year.

The filmmaker created the action TV series Walker, Texas Ranger, which starred Chuck Norris.

Haggis said that he wrote Crash to "bust liberals" during an interview with HuffPost Live in December 2017.

He argued the film intended to explore people who focus on political correctness but were blind to their own prejudice.

He added: "It's those people who think, 'We have it all figured out,' [and] who think, 'We're good people, we're good liberals' — those are the people you can't trust, because there's a level of denial."

Daily Star has contacted a representative of Haggis for comment.

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