Sci-tology 'sifts Haggis trash'

The New York Post/January 13, 2012

Oscar winner Paul Haggis says private detectives regularly sift through his trash almost a year after he publicly renounced his 34-year membership in the Church of Scientology.

"Crash" writer/director Haggis last year said he feared the church would take revenge on him for publicly speaking out against it, telling The New Yorker: "My bet is that, within two years, you're going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church."

Yesterday he told Page Six, "There are private eyes going through my trash. But only the paper is missing. Well, only paper I write on."

And while his ominous prediction has not yet happened, he's still wary. "They're in it for the long haul," Haggis, making the rounds to raise awareness of his work in Haiti, told us of the Scientologists yesterday. But he added that he's moved on — "I am not on a crusade to discredit Scientology."

He said he's since had many former Scientologists thank him for speaking out. "I've had people who were in Sea Org [the church's equivalent of a religious order] and major donors say, 'Thank you,' " Haggis told us. "Or, 'I was a member of the church till they found out I was gay.' " Haggis reportedly resigned from the church, in part, for its stance on gay rights.

A Scientology media rep called the claim about the trash, "ridiculous."

The two-time Academy Award winner was appearing yesterday with fellow Haiti activists, former Fugee Pras and David Belle. Haggis founded Artists for Peace and Justice in 2009, and the organization, on which Belle is a board member, has built an academy that now has 750 students. The academy, which gives students free tuition and high-quality uniforms, meals and access to medical care, has a goal of educating 3,000 every year. APJ is partnered with Pras' Embrace Haiti Now.

Haggis said, "Haiti is a country of artists. With 3,000 kids there are going to be a couple of great leaders in there."

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