Oscar-winning director, Paul Haggis is likely to be expelled by the Academy after being found liable of raping a publicist and ordered to pay her $10M
A New York jury ordered the Oscar-winning screenwriter, 69, to pay Haleigh Breest, 36, $10 million in damages this week after she testified in a civil suit that he forced her to perform oral sex in his Manhattan apartment in 2013.
An Academy spokesperson told The Ankler that the board was now ‘looking into’ his membership.
‘The Academy will address this matter according to our Standards of Conduct and the due process requirements under California nonprofit corporation law,’ the spokesperson said.
Updated in the wake of the Me Too movement in 2017 to tackle any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination, the code states the academy’s board can suspend or expel those who violate the code of conduct or who ‘compromise the integrity’ of the Academy.
Haggis has been a member since 2005, a year after winning his Oscars for Crash and Million Dollar Baby.
He continues to deny the allegations from Breest and four other women accusing him of sexual assault, saying he would appeal the court’s decision and ‘will die clearing’ his name.
‘I can’t live with lies like this. I will die clearing my name,’ Haggis said after Thursday’s decision, adding that he would appeal.
Haggis’ lawyer has since told jurors how he is unable to afford the additional punitive damages that the jury decided on Monday – despite making around $25million during his 40-year show business career.
In history, the Academy has only ever expelled five members: Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Carmine Caridi, and cinematographer Adam Kimmel for various cases including sexual assault allegations.