Paul Haggis’ name stripped from park in Canadian hometown

There’s a reason not to name things after people who are still alive: The birthplace of Paul Haggis finally voted this week to remove the Oscar winner’s name from a park in his Canadian hometown, a month after he was blamed for raping a woman New York City.

City Council in London, Ontario on Tuesday voted unanimously to rename Paul Haggis Park, which took the name of the writer-director of Crash in 2011.

“The sign will be removed by city officials, and all references to it will be removed immediately from the city’s website,” Councilman Elizabeth Peloza said, according to CTV News. “Then the renaming of the park goes through the city administration [process] and then it will be renamed.”

Calls to rename the park have come since 2018 after publicist Haleigh Breest filed a lawsuit in December 2017 alleging that Haggis raped her in his New York City apartment in 2013. The 69-year-old filmmaker filed a lawsuit shortly before Breest alleges she had demanded $9 million in “hush money” over an alleged false rape allegation over a consensual encounter. His lawsuit was dismissed in July 2018.

London’s then councilor Mo Salih moved in January 2018 to remove Haggis’ name from the leisure site, but received no support from a city committee, CBC News reported. Salih again pushed for the move later that month but failed again.

Before the Breest lawsuit went to court, Haggis was arrested in Italy in June 2022 and again charged with sexual assault. He was released from house arrest more than two weeks later, and in late July a judge ordered the investigation dropped.

Haggis told La Repubblica before the verdict that he had not raped anyone but had made mistakes in the situation with the woman in Italy.

“As I told the judge, my first mistake was allowing someone I barely knew to visit me. It was stupid,” he said. “The second mistake was that on the last morning, after an incident that I personally found particularly upsetting, I decided to end this situation; I took this person to the airport hours before their flight. I am upset by these misconceptions but cannot understand why they have led to false and harmful allegations against me.”

Peloza told TMZ in July that if Haggis lost Breest’s civil lawsuit, she would renew the push to remove his name from the park — which she did, saying this week that the decision was in line with the strategic goal of the city ​​to become a safe place for girls and women.

The Breest case went to trial in New York in late October and resulted in the jury finding Haggis liable for rape. He was ordered to pay $7.5 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages.

Despite the civil court ruling, Haggis was not charged with raping Breest.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-12-15/paul-haggis-name-stripped-from-hometown-park Paul Haggis’ name stripped from park in Canadian hometown

Sarah Ridley

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