Academy Award-Winning Writer Paul Haggis Departs Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology was struck another damaging blow with the public departure of one of its most celebrated members, Academy Award winning screenplay writer, director and producer Paul Haggis.
The news comes on the heels of a two-part series on ABC's Nightline which aired over the weekend (click here for more, including the rare interview with Scientology leader David Miscavige from 1992.)
Paul Haggis was the first person in over 50 years to pen Oscar winning films consecutively two years in a row, Million Dollar Baby and Crash (which he also directed.) Haggis, a Hollywood heavy-weight, was also involved in writing critically acclaimed screenplays for two Clint Eastwood projects, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Haggis also collaborated on the hugely popular James Bond remake of Casino Royale and wrote the screenplay for the second in the franchise, Quantum of Solace, breathing new life into the series.
Haggis is also well-known and revered for his humanitarian work and activism in the advancement of human rights. Paul was also a Scientologist for 35 years — until now.
On the blog of a well-known former Scientology exec and now outspoken critic, Marty Rathbun, correspondence was made public between Haggis and Church spokesperson, Tommy Davis, son of actress Anne Archer.
The letters revealed a deep divide with what Haggis feels is a particularly glaring hypocrisy between what the Church of Scientology states as their human rights efforts and their views on homosexuality, in particular the polarizing Proposition 8 bill in California. Haggis also voiced his concerns about allegations leveled at Scientology leader David Miscavige physically abusing subordinates, detailed in a multi-part series in the St. Petersburg Times.
Haggis is the biggest celebrity Scientologist to publicly denounce the Church and its current leadership. In 2008, actor and former member Jason Beghe left the Church of Scientology, publicly criticizing the Church for making false claims and bilking members of large sums of money.
With the heavy scrutiny being paid to Scientology and their cultish and illegal behavior, more celebrity defections are likely.