Leah Remini, Mike Rinder defend Paul Haggis against sexual misconduct allegations

IANS

January 16, 2018 17:06:03 IST

Los Angeles: Actress-producer Leah Remini has defended filmmaker Paul Haggis, and hinted that Scientology is behind sexual misconduct allegations.

From left: Facebook images.

From left: Leah Remini, Paul Haggis, Mike Rinder. Facebook images.

The actress and Mike Rinder, her Scientology and the Aftermath co-star, shared an open letter titled "Concerning Paul Haggis" defending the Oscar winner via Rinder's blog on Monday, reports usmagazine.com.

"Paul Haggis is a good man who has been a friend to us and so many others," the co-hosts wrote.

"He has championed the rights of women, the LGBT community and has fought for and devoted himself to the underprivileged in the world.... Like all go us, Paul Haggis is not perfect. Unlike a lot of us, he is truly a gentleman. A gentle man, with impeccable manners and a generous heart."

Remini and Rinder dubbed the allegations as "suspect" and claimed that the Church of Scientology may be targeting Haggis, who was a member for 35 years before leaving in 2009.

"Only a Scientologist can understand the pressure one feels to offer up even the slightest thing that the Scientology organisation might consider a transgression of their mores," the King of Queens star and Rinder, who grew up in the church and left in 2007, wrote.

"This information is used against anyone who departs Scientology and dares speak their mind. This is not imaginary. There is a documented history of such things. When someone is declared an ‘enemy' by Scientology, they are fair game."

The former Scientologists explained their belief that more women may accuse Haggis of misconduct: "We expect he next ‘revelations' about Paul Haggis in this campaign to destroy him to be based on 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."

"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. And when the target of these tactics is someone who is a prominent critic of Scientology, it is very suspect," added Remini and Rinder.

A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology responded to Remini and Rinder's letter in a statement to usmagazine.com on Monday (15 January).

"Leah Remini, Paul Haggis and Mike Rinder have predictably thrown up a reprehensible smokescreen to turn horrific sexual assault and rape allegations made against Haggis by four women into a bigoted attack about their former religion," the statement read.

"To be clear, the church has never met the women in this case nor their attorneys and knows nothing about the accusations against Haggis other than what has appeared in press reports and public court documents."

Updated Date: Jan 16, 2018 17:06 PM