Haggis feels personal blow from attack on Scientology

Winnipeg Free Press, Canada/February 10, 2011

Toronto - Paul Haggis has made headlines around the world this week for denouncing the Church of Scientology, but the Oscar-winning director says he doesn't think the comments will affect his career.

The Canadian filmmaker says he's felt a personal blow since speaking out against the controversial church, which boasts several influential Hollywood devotees, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

A lengthy New Yorker article that hits stands next week details Haggis's complaints with Scientology. The director says he's lost one friend since the story broke, in addition to several others who have turned their backs on him since he left the church.

The 57-year-old Haggis left Scientology in 2009 over its opposition to gay marriage and the way it allegedly treats detractors.

The Crash director wonders whether his recent comments will prompt other followers to question the church, noting nothing got through to him "for a long time."

Haggis made the comments Wednesday ahead of a public talk at which he was expected to discuss his career.

Before taking the stage, he said he's not sure whether he's made an impact by speaking out against Scientology, which he followed for nearly 35 years but now denounces as a "cult."

"It's had a bit of an impact -- a lot of people aren't speaking to me anymore, but it's a personal impact," he said of the article by Lawrence Wright, to be published in the Feb. 14 edition.

Still, he doubted his rebuke of Scientology would derail his filmmaking.

"I sort of eke my way through my career as it is, anyway."

"It's a fascinating time," said Haggis, who also wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby.

Wright, who notes that Scientology officials have denied the allegations, is working on a book about the controversial church and Haggis' lengthy involvement.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.