Leah Remini has written an open letter along with Mike Rinder, her co-host of the A&E docu-series “Scientology and the Aftermath,” in which the pair defend “Crash” director and fellow ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis against multiple sexual misconduct allegations, including two rape claims. Haggis was accused of sexual harassment and abuse by four women in a January 5 report from the Associated Press. Three of the four women spoke anonymously.
“Paul Haggis deserves, based on his record as a gentleman and humanitarian, to be judged when all the evidence has been taken under penalty of perjury in a court of law,” Remini and Rinder write in the letter. “Because claims of anonymous accusers who have NOT gone to law enforcement are not credible.”
Haggis left the Church of Scientology in 2009 after being a member for 35 years. Remini followed in 2013. The director appeared on the A&E series last September where he talked about his highly-publicized exit from Scientology. Haggis was also an interview subject in Alex Gibney’s documentary “Going Clear.”
Although Remini and Rinder understand how worrisome it looks to defend anyone accused of sexual harassment and abuse during the height of the #MeToo movement, the pair state that they’ve never let “the fear of consequences for speaking [the] truth” hold them back.
“Paul Haggis is a good man who has been a friend to us and so many others,” the letter continues. “He has championed the rights of women, the LGBT community and has fought for and devoted himself to the underprivileged in the world. These are not ‘PR stunts’ — he has devoted his time, skill and money to worthy causes without fanfare for decades.”
Remini and Rinder say they expect the next revelations about Paul Haggis to come from “information culled from his Scientology files in the form of more ‘anonymous’ accusers, hiding behind a lawyer who will never have to disclose who is paying their bill.” The duo warn that believing anonymous accusers in Haggis’ case is dangerous because he is an outspoken critic of Scientology, which makes him a target of the Church.
“Those who accuse without going to law enforcement, those who seek hush money to keep their stories secret, those who make accusations to the media anonymously – they are suspect,” the letter states. “And when the target of these tactics is someone who is a prominent critic of scientology, it is very suspect.”
The letter was posted directly to Rinder’s blog on January 15 with the title “Concerning Paul Haggis.” Click here to read the letter in its entirety.