Paul Haggis testified that his letter of resignation from Scientology helped Leah Remini leave the church.
Haggis is currently on trial in a civil suit over a rape allegation.
Representatives for Remini did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis testified in a civil rape lawsuit on Wednesday that his letter of resignation from the Church of Scientology helped motivate fellow celebrity and member Leah Remini to leave the religion as well.
Haggis, the writer and director of ‘Crash,’ was a member of the church for more than three decades before leaving in 2009 due to his refusal to condemn a chapter’s statement of support for Proposition 8, a California ballot measure to de-legalize same-sex marriage. Two of Haggis’ four children are gay.
He said most former Scientologists leave the religion quietly, but because he was better known, he said he felt it was his duty to go public with his decision to cut ties with the church. . Haggis wrote a letter expressing his doubts about the church, which was later leaked to the press.
Haggis said he wrote the letter to let the world know he had left the religion and that others would not be recruited to join Scientology because of his involvement. He also said he hoped it would “open the eyes” of those still in the church and help them “come out.”
“It worked with Leah — Leah Remini, she was always there,” Haggis said.
Representatives for Remini did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Wednesday.
Haggis took the stand Wednesday in New York Supreme Court, in a lawsuit brought by publicist Haleigh Breest, who alleges Haggis raped her at this apartment in January 2013. Breest’s lawsuit seeks damages – unspecified compensatory and punitive interest.
Four other women testified with similar allegations of sexual misconduct against Haggis during the trial.
Haggis says the meeting with Breest was consensual and his attorneys tried to pin the allegation on a Scientology plot to discredit him.
Correction: November 2, 2022 – A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to why Paul Haggis left the Church of Scientology. It was about the church’s refusal to denounce a chapter’s statement of support for Proposition 8. The church maintained that it took no position on the measure.
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